Updated: Sep 11
Over the past few months you may have seen my stories and posts talking about the Forest Row Community Fridge. So here is so more information about what we do, why, who it's for and how you can get involved.
Some stats about the Forest Row Community Fridge:
- UPDATE: We have saved over 7000kg of food since opening!
- Much of the food we redistributed is healthy, nutritious balanced food. Some examples of what we've redistributed so far include:
- Quinoa croissants
- Runner Beans
- Bread (LOTS)
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Gingerbread men
- Fresh chicken
- Cooked meals
- Duck legs
and so so much more!
Here's a gallery of the fridge so far, with the full blog below.
What is a Community Fridge?
Community fridges are communal spaces that redistribute surplus food. This food comes from a range of sources, from supermarkets who can no longer sell food that is still edible, to households who have suitable food, but who are going on holiday so won't use it. In the summer, we hope we'll have donations from allotments- for those gluts of runner beans etc.
We want to reduce food waste- stopping perfectly edible delicious food from the bin and into tummies instead. So far, we've had feedback that visitors cannot believe how much delicious, nutritious food would otherwise have gone to waste
Why is tackling food waste important?
10 million tonnes of food is wasted every year.
This is associated with around 25 million tonnes of GHG emissions every year.
And it's not just about the environment. "8.4 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat."
What is Hubbub?
Hubbub is an incredible organisation that has helped and guided us to set up. They have been integral to the set up of 80 fridges country wide.
Hubbub has helped save 780,000kg of surplus food!
"How Do I collect food?"
Collecting food from the community fridge is really easy. All you need to do is come along at our opening times, check out what's inside, pick up what you need and what you will eat. We have a one bag max rule. Once you've decided what you will eat, you need to weigh your food on our scales and we'll record what kind of food it is, the weight and if it's your first time to the fridge. Easy!
Who runs the FRCF?
At the moment, everybody that works for the community fridge does so on a voluntary basis. We have four directors of our CIC, that have donated their time on a part time basis to set up the fridge and get it running. Helping run the day to day we have dedicated and fantastic volunteers, that donate their time on a regular basis to help prevent food waste!
In the future, we'd like to be able to employ a local staff member part time to run the fridge. At the moment there is a huge workload on our directors who all work full time and lead very busy family lives! Employing a local team member is also a fantastic way to provide employment and also training within the community. We hope in the future the fridge will have many more benefits beyond preventing food waste including providing training and education.
Who can use the FRCF?
Everyone is welcome. The main aim of the fridge is to prevent food waste. If the FRCF would help you with your food bills, please contact us to register as a priority family, that will allow us to get food aside for you. We cannot ever guarantee what we will have, if we will have a delivery or how much. Please bear that in mind!
Where do we collect from?
At the moment we are collecting from a number of local supermarkets. It changes regularly and every single pick up is different. Where we collect and how often will likely change over the coming months also. We do have a small amount of donations from households, but the majority of our donations come from supermarkets that no longer can sell the perfectly edible food.
Are we accepting new locations for food pick ups?
We hope to expand our current collection locations, as the most food waste we can prevent the better. Arranging a food pick up requires a number of steps that we must make sure are in place beforehand, including arranging times, ensuring that there is food, finding a volunteer able to collect, making sure there is a suitable fridge opening time and more. Please be patient with us as we grow, we are currently focussing on creating stable relationships with food partners! If you'd like to donate food you can no longer sell, please contact us on email@example.com. Please note Hubbub regulations state we can only accept donations from food businesses rated 4 stars and above. Apologies.
Please also be aware, that our volunteer power for pick ups is limited. If you have staff members that live locally we would really appreciate dropping the donation to us, otherwise we can arrange pick ups if possible.
Can I donate money?
We have a collections pot for donations in the community fridge. If visitors would like to take food and make a donation we are very grateful. But there is no pressure. We also gratefully receive corporate sponsors and in return businesses can be recognised in the fridge with a plaque.
What are the donations used for?
Donations are used for helping to pay our rent, electricity, insurance, repairs and more. Helping to cover our basic costs means we can continue to reduce food waste (and support those that may need it). If visitors made a small donation of £1 per kilo of food (average) we'd cover our running costs.
Why are we a Community Interest Company?
At the moment we are a community interest company (CIC). Setting up as a CIC meant we could start our project quickly, preventing food waste and help the community as soon as possible.
What sort of food is available in the fridge?
What we have available in the fridge varies hugely every delivery. Some times we'll have lots of broccoli or cinnamon swirls or Christmas biscuits. It's completely unpredictable.
What can I do with the food I collect from the community fridge?
Eat up! We really hope you love the food you collect. You can only use food from the fridge to eat yourself or with your family and friends. You cannot make money from food, or gain in anyway. This means you can't put food into tombolas, PTA raffles etc. Keep it simple and only take food that you can eat.