Have you ever had too much produce in your fridge? We all have. Often, if you don’t make the time or space to store your surplus produce (or you don’t have the friends, family, and co-workers to pawn it off on), it can turn into food waste. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place close to your home you could leave those veggies for others to eat? Well, one city in Spain has created such a place, and it’s becoming incredibly popular.
That “place” is called the Solidarity Fridge and it resides in the Basque town of Galdakao, population 30,000. The Fridge is communal and resides on one of the city’s sidewalks. Alvaro Saiz established the Fridge in April of this year to prevent food waste. To make certain no one thinks the Fridge is trash, the city has enclosed it with a fence.
Saiz used to run a food bank, so he’s quite familiar with just how important food is, and very aware that people will do anything to find food. “The idea for a Solidarity Fridge started with the economic crisis — these images of people searching dumpsters for food — the indignity of it,” Saiz said to NPR.
Saiz's idea for the Fridge was sparked after he read about people in Germany posting about excess food online. Because Saiz knew that many elderly people in his city didn’t have Internet, he wanted a more “low-tech,” easy-to-access solution.
When he took his "fridge" idea to city hall, it was approved. He received a small budget to get the anti-food waste project underway. (About 5,000 euros/$5,580 went to pay for the fridge, for a health safety study, and for electricity and upkeep – the city also granted it “independent legal status” to protect the city if someone gets sick from food in the fridge.)
Anything and everything can go into the Fridge, and many local restaurants are regularly delivering to it when they have extra food. The only rule is that homemade food has to be labeled with a date and discarded after four days.
Don't have a community fridge in your town? Don't fret, there are lots of creative ways to share your extras. Check out this app that connects you with neighbors with leftovers. Or join a community garden where you can grow--and share--your fresh grown food with your community.
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Image of produce in fridge from Shutterstock