Faculty of Education
- Rob Vanwynsberghe
City of Vancouver:
- Brad Badelt
- Julia Gellman
- Erica Ellis
- Kelly Chessman
- Kelly Davies
- Climate Emergency Action Plan
We are a group of community educators at UBC committed to finding innovative solutions to the wicked issues of local food insecurity and food waste. One way to address these pressing issues is by creating accessible ways for communities to engage in mutual-aid projects. Our mutual-aid initiative is FridgeShare – community fridges available to the public where anyone can leave food or take food as they need. FridgeShare allows organizations and individuals in the neighbourhood to steward the fridges by maintaining and filling the fridge with food. Community members can access these food resources, diverting the food from being wasted and getting it to the mouths that need it.
In order for mutual aid initiatives like these to really flourish, there needs to be better support from the system. Through our community engagement and research, we discovered that community-based projects face many obstacles. Some challenges we’ve heard include: navigating bureaucracy and policies, encountering systemic barriers, lacking people power, insufficient funding, and missing connections and communications with necessary stakeholders.
In the spirit of mutual-aid, this is what we need from the City of Vancouver. We need the city to publicly support community fridges, showing community members that this is an avenue to address the immediate needs of food insecurity. We then need resources to allow people to navigate bureaucracy and reduce barriers. Finally, we need effective communication channels to create a network and enable everyone to learn from each other; expanding the reach of food and resources.
FridgeShare will allow our communities to share food resources in an act of mutual aid to increase food security and decrease food waste. With the City of Vancouver supporting FridgeShare, together we will be able to create stronger, more connected, food-secure communities.