London’s first “community fridge” has launched in Brixton to provide food to those who need it.
The People’s Fridge is a public fridge where local businesses and residents can leave spare, edible food to help others.
The fridge, which launches on Wednesday, is run by a group of local volunteers and aims to cut food waste, encourage food sharing and help tackle food poverty.
Hundreds of similar fridges have already been launched in Spain, Germany, and India as well as in Frome, Somerset and Derbyshire, but this is the first time the concept has been brought to London.
The new fridge was made possible after a team of Brixton residents, food activists and market traders launched a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The team, headed up by Olivia Haughton, Rebecca Trevalyan, Sebastian Wood and Ben Longman, decided to launch the initiative in London during a course at Impact Hub Brixton, where people had come together to find ways to make a positive change to the food system in Lambeth.
The group managed to raise more than £2,000 through crowdfunding, which will be used to cover the set up of the fridge as well as outreach events, promoting community sharing.
According to the founders, food waste is a huge issue in the UK and is valued at around £17 billion each year, with restaurants throwing away 900,000 tonnes of food each year.
On average, UK households throw away the equivalent of 24 edible meals a month, meaning Lambeth households alone throw away nearly 40 million meals within 12 months.
But this food could be going to better use as currently, 8.4 million people in the UK – about the size of London’s population – live in food insecurity.
The People’s Fridge helps to bridge this gap. Open to anyone, it offers a secure, managed place for retailers, restaurants and individuals to share fresh food with those who need it.
Anyone can donate food or take it out and its presence provides a visible focus for cutting food waste and helps boost the sharing economy in London.
The new fridge is situated in the heart of Brixton inside foodie hotspot Pop Brixton, whose traders have agreed to help stock and clean the fridge each day.
If all goes to plan, the team behind the London fridge hope to help others set up community fridges across the UK.