Tuesday, October 13, 2015
I will eat Thanksgiving leftovers for my lunch today, a happy consequence of a holiday feast. Our table groaned with abundant and delicious food on Sunday afternoon and the gathering of family members was a happy one. God is good.
How do we make sure that abundance is shared, rather than wasted? In a Spanish town the answer is the Solidarity Fridge. The fridge is in a public place and anyone can avail him/her self of the contents. Here is a description of the project:
For the past seven weeks, Galdakao, population 29,000, has been home to Spain’s first “solidarity fridge”, in which residents and restaurants can drop off leftover or unused food otherwise destined for the bin. Anything left in the fridge can be picked up by anyone who wants it. “I would guess we’ve saved between 200 and 300kg from the rubbish bin,” said organiser Álvaro Saiz. A typical day might see leftover lentils, a few sandwiches and unopened milk cartons left in the fridge.
The idea came about as Saiz and other members of the city’s volunteer association were reflecting on the sheer amount of food being thrown out by supermarkets. “We started to think that if even just one of their rubbish bins was replaced with a fridge, people could take advantage of these items.” After an online search revealed a network of shared fridges in Berlin, he said. “We realised we could do this – so we did.”
Of course there are fairly strict rules about the donation of food and it appears that contributors are adhering to them. A number of restaurants are on board, and one owner says that it helps to alleviate his guilt about wasting so much good food.
There an increasing number of initiatives to ensure that good food is eaten, rather than discarded. France has passed legislation for grocery chains, and in Britain Marks and Spencers has announced that it will step up efforts to contribute food normally discarded to food banks across the nation.
Our TGIF and Inn from the Cold programs at Bridge St UC are recipients of generous contributions of produce, but the food prep team can't always keep up with what is available.
Surely we can get better at this, as good stewards of the world's resources. This is both a practical and spiritual imperative, it seems to me. To be in solidarity with those who don't have their "daily bread" is an essential aspect of what it means to be Christian.