This week, Eatizz met up with Catherine Adam, one of the managing members of community fridges in Montreal (see Fridge Amherst). Catherine explains the idea and shares her personal vision of a Community fridge.
Inspired by Berlin’s « food-sharing » concept
« It works the same way as your fridge at home, but instead of being at home, it’s in a public place. That’s basically what a Community fridge is.
You drop-off and take free food. »
The first Community fridge in Canada was created in April 2015 by two citizens, Jessica Dufresnes and Émilie Papineau, concerned about food-waste in Montreal. The fridges were inspired by a movement in Berlin called food-sharing, a platform allowing one to trade food with another. Catherine believes the idea contributes to making a difference in the way people think and consume. The rising number of Community fridges in Montreal, and throughout Quebec, has the potential to raise awareness as much awareness on the topic as other European cities like Berlin and Amsrterdam. Montreal is one of the cities in the world that has the biggest restaurants comparatively to its population, the amount of food wasted is unimaginable.
« We must reinsert this process back into our system ». The culture of the Community fridge is not innovative, aboriginals practiced the concept when hunters who had too much meat redistributed the remains to those who had less. Since the agricultural revolution, we have more food than we could possibly eat and it is important to be aware of the benefits of sharing.
« We have a role to play together when it comes to solving the environmental problems facing us today and tomorrow. The fridge is a way for citizens to regain power by taking position against a huge issue which concerns us all. «
« One goal would be to create a network and multiply drop-off points (fridges) throughout the city, it’s integrated into our eating habits. It would mean that we would become aware of our environmental impact and our capacity to positively contribute at our own scale« .
« If distributors start asking for cheaper ugly fruits and vegetables, there will be a pressure that will be exerted on the producer to cultivate ugly fruits vegetables even though it isn’t natural. Ugly fruits and vegetables may account for 10% of total production. It’s clear that we mustn’t discard that 10%, as it can be used to feed animals, ourselves or even produce energy, but we mustn’t start growing them ».
« In rich and developed countries, people live in food abundance that seems to have no consequences. Our resources are not inexhaustible. Initiatives like Community firdges influence, at their own scale, habits towards overconsumerism and inequalities« .
Sharing makes us human
The fridges are open to all, it is a free spontaneous « food-sharing » movement where volunteering is very welcome. The Fridges differ from projects organized by community associations as anyone can make a difference without having any special skill. « All you need is envy and determination to make a change. Anyone can decide to launch a fridge in their neighborhood ».
« The fridge should be seen as a simple neighborhood tool, which brings us back to basics like collaborating and sharing » says Catherine, « You learn a lot about living in a community. Lending a hand to the unknown is a beautiful feeling to have and enables you to learn a lot about yourself« .
« At the Amherst Fridge, there are many people I would never have met in my life. We don’t know each other, but by collaborating, we make it work. It’s important to get used to a collaborating spirit again ».
« We are very centered on ourselves, we need to force ourselves to go beyond our comfort zone. We have to trust the unknown and that feeling of letting go so sweet, the selflessness and generosity of others generates something magical » Catherine explains with a smile. « It’s amazing ».
The evolution of communitarianism
« Collaborating is becoming more and more essential these days. It’s very difficult to follow through with your ideas and initiative, we need to help each other and create partnerships with our neighbors. Today, a lot of young companies are opening their offices in co-working offices in order to build more partnerships.
For more information about Community Fridges in Montreal, visit https://www.facebook.com/entraideamherst/