This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 146.
According to a report published by WRAP, the UK bins a staggering 10 million tonnes of food every year. This is equivalent to over £20 billion and 25 million tonnes of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.
These shocking stats have galvanised a Community Fridge food distribution movement, with community fridges popping up all over the UK. The concept is simple: give, take, share. Businesses and individuals leave surplus food for the community to collect and enjoy.
The benefits are numerous. Aside from stopping perfectly edible food going to landfill, the fridges connect communities and give access to nutritious, affordable food.
Cambridge has benefited from its very own community fridge since 2017, run by The Edge Café on Mill Road in partnership with Cambridge Sustainable Food (CSF). The fridge saved a whopping half tonne of food from being wasted in its first six months. ‘It’s fulfilling a real need and has given the community a sense of inclusivity and friendliness’, according to The Edge Café.
Following its success, CSF is set to open three more fridges in early 2020. These will be at Buchan Street Neighbourhood Centre in King’s Hedges, Brown’s Field Youth & Community Centre in East Chesterton and at a new community space in Barnwell. Cambridge Sustainable Food is looking for volunteer cyclists to help collect surplus food from businesses in the city and deliver it to the community fridges. If you’re a cycling enthusiast and aspiring food waste warrior, sign up to volunteer.
Camcycle members can also help by encouraging food businesses to donate their surplus food to the scheme. If you know a business that would like to get involved, please ask them to sign up .
Gemma Birley, Cambridge Sustainable Food