Food & Drinks

This neighborhood project combats food waste and poverty | Lifestyle

The libraries on the side of the road are now extremely popular, but the neighborhood fridges are also becoming increasingly famous. The idea is simple: a neighborhood refrigerator where food leftovers can be taken. Local residents who need it can grab the freshly prepared meals.

Fresh & Free

Vers & Vrij from The Hague started this project in October 2019 to combat food waste in the catering industry and to combat poverty. They now work together with fifteen restaurants and they have more than ten well-stocked fridges spread across The Hague.

The display refrigerators with leftover products from, for example, local restaurants are located in the neighborhood centers of various neighborhoods in The Hague. “The refrigerator can be filled with dishes ranging from mashed potatoes to Turkish lentil soup or even an Indian curry,” says initiator Arna van der Sloot. “Together with various volunteers we provide a filled refrigerator. During the corona period, we sometimes also cook ourselves. ”

According to her, this is desperately needed, because more than 1 million Dutch people live below the poverty line. The initiative is not superfluous in The Hague either: of the twenty poorest postal code areas, seven are in The Hague. “Anyone who considers it necessary is free to take whatever he needs from the fridge.”

Other initiatives

Various municipalities, villages and cities now have such a neighborhood refrigerator and well-known chains such as Jumbo are also participating in the concept. For example, the Open Fridge initiative of the well-known supermarket asks customers who can afford it to buy something extra.

Cities such as Groningen, for example, ask whether people want to put leftover fresh food in the fridge themselves.

Food waste is a serious problem, according to Vers en Vrij, because in the Netherlands, for example, 800,000 loaves of bread are thrown away every day. You can imagine how many people could have lunch and breakfast every day. ”

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