London’s first “community fridge” has launched in Brixton to provide food to those who need it, but we’re rather baffled by where they’ve decided to put it.
The ‘People’s Fridge’ concept is brilliant: a large fridge is a made available for local businesses and residents to leave spare, edible food, and anyone who is is in need can help themselves to it.
Tasked with cutting food waste, encouraging food sharing and helping tackle food poverty, hundreds of similar fridges have already been launched in Spain, Germany, and India, but this is the first one in London.
Food waste is a growing outrage in the UK, where edible food valued at around £17 billion is wasted each year, and restaurants are chucking away 900,000 tonnes of food each year.
It’s been calculated that UK households throw away the equivalent of 24 edible meals a month – this works out at Lambeth households throwing away nearly 40 million meals every 12 months – and this is happening while 8.4 million people in the UK live in food insecurity.
The Brixton project was realised after a team of local residents, food activists and market traders launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to buy a large fridge and keep it maintained.
Run by a group of local volunteers, the facility looks to provide a useful alternative to just throwing out food, with the People’s Fridge offering a secure, managed place for retailers, restaurants and individuals to share fresh food with those who need it.
The idea is that anyone in need can hep themselves to the food, but we think putting the fridge inside trendy Pop Brixton is a mistake.
Billed as a ’21st Century Business Park’ and hosting hip street food stalls, design studios, DJ nights, a wine cellar and craft bars, Pop Brixton is unlikely to be on the radar of those in need, and the presence of bag-searching security guards at the entrance is unlikely to encourage them to enter.
In fact we wonder if some people truly in need would even be able to get past security.
The venue also actively discourages visitors from bringing in their own food and drink, so we’re not sure how it’s going to work if someone takes food out from the fridge and tries to settle down at a table inside.
Comments on Facebook seem to share our concerns:
AK: Great idea but first fridge ‘inside’ Pop Brixton, are they serious?!
GS: As soon as we heard about this are immediate thought were the same, the location is all wrong. I appreciate what Pop are trying to do but this is not the venue for it.
AS: They could have placed it also at the market row for instance, where the security issue wouldn’t be a problem and where you still have a few shops that residents actually use like the Noor, the butcher, etc. The fact that the choice fell on Brixton Pop is telling. This is to indulge the politically-correct gentrifiers, nothing else.
We understand that the people behind the project has said that the location was chosen for its electricity supply, security and daily clearing, but surely somewhere like the Brixton Pound Shop or Brixton Library would have been more appropriate? We note that the community fridge in Frome is in a far more accessible location.
However, we wish this venture every success because we support its aims completely, but maybe it’s worth a rethink about the location?