You’ve probably seen a community library pop up, as they’re often spotted in different neighborhoods. They’re typically filled with used books that people in the neighborhood can take, as well as drop off books they are finished with.
The same idea is used for a community fridge, which now exists in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit. People in the community can drop off any extra food they have, and those who need food can take what they’d like from the fridge.
“The concept falls firmly into the mutual aid idea of, you know, who has more than they need can offer it to others, and those who have less than they need can take it,” said Kieran Neal, the owner and manager of Beaverland Farms in Detroit.
Community fridges, or “freedges,” exist all over the country in neighborhoods that are trying to curb food insecurity and food waste while building a community. There are hundreds of freedges -- and more are popping up all the time.
The fridge at Beaverland Farms is full of fresh veggies, frozen meats and other frozen foods that can seriously help someone in the neighborhood who can’t afford fresh and healthy produce at the grocery store.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, 38 million Americans in 2020 lived in households that struggled with food insecurity or had lack of access to an affordable, nutritious diet.
The community fridge is hoping to make it easier for folks who can’t afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
So, how would you go about starting your own community fridge in your neighborhood?
“I think the first thing is identifying a couple people who are going to be able to maintain it and keep a watch over it,” Neal said. “Just because if you have food (that starts) going bad, that’s not great.”
Neal has watched this resource grow, and he’s noticed how it has created community and camaraderie in the Brightmoor neighborhood.
“The nature of American society is individualistic, and so I think seeing successful models of community initiatives or mutual aid -- it serves as an alternative, or just something that can inform how we operate ourselves as a society,” Neal said.
It’s going to take a lot of work to help end world hunger, but with people like Neal who are taking it upon themselves to find solutions to problems in his community, we are certainly heading in a good direction.
If you want to find out more about the community fridges in Detroit, click or tap here.