Focus on Food Justice - LA Community Fridges
Happy 2021! For the month of January, 10% of proceeds from sales will be donated to LA Community Fridges, a network of decentralized and independently run fridges located in various neighborhoods around Los Angeles that provides food and essential supplies through a philosophy of mutual aid.
I became aware of the work of LA Community Fridges in mid-July of last year when a friend forwarded me a post from their Instagram of a colorfully decorated fridge with a banner of “Free Food! Comida Gratis!” artfully painted along its front with a young woman in an equally colorful crochet dress and mask standing in front of it, toting a large reusable bag in one plastic gloved hand. A month later I was donating excess vegetables from my garden to Murmurs, a downtown artspace/cafe that was cooking meals for the homeless and spoke with the founder/owner who just so happened to be in the process of starting a fridge for the South Arts District in partnership with LACF.
To date, there are 17 active fridges across Los Angeles - check out this map of active fridges! - spanning as far north as North Hills and as far south as Hawthorne; you can visit a well-stocked fridge in Venice near Abbot Kinney or pop by locations in South LA, Mid-City, downtown LA and NELA, and as far east as Eagle Rock. Fridges are stocked with bottled water, fresh vegetables and fruits, drinks like Gatorade and juices, milk (dairy and non-dairy), frozen meats and food, eggs, bread, and prepared meals (homemade meals are no longer accepted). Most locations also have a small pantry stocked with dry goods like pasta and rice, canned goods, and non-food items such as hand sanitizer, PPE, pet supplies, baby formula, hygiene products, etc.
LACF fridges are provided by, stocked, cleaned, and maintained by the communities they reside in - which is by design. The tenets of permaculture permeates LA Community Fridges’ mission to provide tools and frameworks to strengthen communities and redistribute existing resources using the power of volunteers to ensure on-going, equal access to healthy food. Established on the pillars of mutual aid, community, creating connections, sharing resources, and open communication, everything is donated and volunteer-run from food donations, to keeping the fridges clean and stocked with needed items, to transportation of food items from businesses who are donating food to the fridges.
A great tool that LACF implemented is the map of active fridges on their website which allows volunteers to see what items are available and what’s in need at specific fridges, based on another nifty tool, the fridge check-in which allows volunteers to scan the QR code located on a fridge to monitor and report on the status of food stock levels and cleanliness of the fridge, sending updates to the website in real time.
If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, consider joining LACF’s Slack to connect with others in your neighborhood and view their resources, or finding an active fridge on their website and start donating!
Connect with LA Community Fridges on Instagram at @lacommunityfridges