Why a community fridge?
Community fridges are a form of mutual aid that address food insecurity in the community. Especially during the COVID pandemic, food pantries and food banks are overcapacity, and require a heavy amount of coordination. Community fridges help offload some of that pressure by offering a resource of neighbors that is available 24/7 and does not require volunteers to be present to hand out food.
One major benefit of community fridges are their ability to alleviate some food waste. While food banks and large institutions have strict regulations for what food they accept, community fridges generally operate on the principal that as long as food is safe and good to eat, it is acceptable. Neighbors with extra produce or extra food can drop food off at the fridge.
How to get involved
Community fridges are run entirely by volunteer neighbors. You can be involved by helping stock the fridge with extra groceries, by stopping by to clean the fridge surfaces, or by helping coordinate social media and informing neighbors about the fridge.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to get involved.
Food insecurity vs. Food sovereignty
The Coast Community Fridge, and other community fridges in greater Boston and beyond, work to address food insecurity. Food insecurity is the state of being unable to consistently, reliably, and sufficiently have enough food to provide for your self, household, or family. Food insecure folks have usually experienced loss in some form, and are certainly under stress. Thus, community fridges are judgment-free zones, as we recognize that food insecurity is just one manifestation of a number of stressors that someone is experiencing.
It is essential to recognize that food insecurity, while a stressor for individuals, is a systemic and political problem. Food insecurity is a direct result of a mismanaged and deeply problematic economic system that values stockholders, corporate profit, and technological innovation over individual people. Food insecurity is caused by a low minimum wage, unlivable urban living costs, and poorly distributed federal resources (such as bailouts for corporations rather than social support for individuals for families).
Food sovereignty is a systemic solution that emphasizes the ability for a community to decide for itself how people should obtain their food. Cambridge City Growers approached food sovereignty through the lens of urban agriculture, as we work to combat the global food supply chain that forces our neighbors into consuming unhealthy, chemical-laden, cultural insensitive diet that costs more money than it’s worth.
In the spring, summer, and fall, Cambridge City Growers plans to fill the Coast Community Fridge with locally grown produce from our gardens so that neighbors can eat and cook with healthy foods that are free from the global supply chain.
Where are the other community fridges in Boston?
Please see this article for a map of all the community fridges in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville.
Please see this resource if you are volunteering to clean and check on the fridge.
Guidelines for dropping off food or household items
- We accept all types of foods from all cultures and traditions; please place them where they belong in the fridge, freezer, or in the pantry area
- Homemade meals ARE accepted.
- Please place in a tightly sealed container, and tape all four sides of the container or the top of the bag so that it is easy to tell if the container has been opened when someone picks it up
- Label the made date and estimated expiration date
- Label all the ingredients, and mark any common allergens (nuts, milk, wheat, gluten, soy, etc.)
- We DO NOT accept half-opened or consumed goods, unless there are individually unopened packs
- We DO NOT accept alcohol
- Raw meats should always go in the bottom two drawers of the freezer
- We also accept personal items such as period products, household goods like toilet paper, tissues, cleaning supplies, even clothes or other such items AS LONG AS FABRICS HAVE BEEN CLEANED AND ARE PACKED IN A SEALED AND TAPED BAG
- Please DO NOT visit the fridge if you have COVID symptoms or have in the past two weeks