Ashburton Community Fridge
Ashburton Community Fridge started operating in late March 2021 and has already become a very popular feature of town life. Community fridges reduce food waste by taking food that would otherwise have been thrown out from shops, wholesalers and private individuals. The food is placed in the fridge which is in a publicly accessible spot – in Ashburton it is behind the Town Hall and directly opposite the car park – and members of the public can come by and take what they need. In Ashburton the fridge is open 24/7. Food gets placed in the fridge almost every day and gets taken very quickly – a steady stream of Ashburton residents drop by to see what is on offer.
A team of 45 volunteers keeps the fridge running smoothly. Some are responsible for regular cleaning of the fridge and checking that the contents meet the criteria (no meat or fish, no opened packages, nothing cooked in a private kitchen) and are still of good quality. Others do regular runs to local shops or supermarkets further afield to collect food that has been removed from their shelves.
The idea of a Community Fridge began with the formation of Ashburton Climate Emergency (ACE), when the Food group identified this as a good way to reduce the carbon emissions associated with food waste. Ashburton Town Council helped kickstart the project by providing space for the fridge by the Town Hall and the all-important electricity supply. Funding from a variety of organisations including CAG Devon paid for the shelter, signage and supplies, and CAG Devon covers the all important insurance and other advice.