BonApp, the brainchild of Geneviève Rousseau, is all about helping extra food stay out of the (new) compost program in Montreal. The idea is for people to share excess produce before it goes bad. To facilitate this exchange, BonApp is setting up its first 5 fridges (it is hoped the first of many) in community spaces on the island of Montreal. The first fridge was launched at le 5ième, a zero-waste cafe and coworking space, in Little Burgundy.
The fridge has a glass door and is smaller than I expected. Geneviève said she wanted it to be welcoming for sharers. She makes a good point – a fridge with a glass door will be better maintained, while a smaller one is easier to manage than a larger one – especially if this is the very first time a project like this is launched. It is a pilot project — no one precisely knows how the fridge will be used, however, there are terms and conditions for its use. I pointed out that I am the type of person who would happily donate but would be worried about taking fruit or veg out of the fridge in case there were people who needed it more than I do. However, this is so pre-Uber economy thinking! As Geneviève points out:
…food waste is a behavioural (+ lack of education) problem at the consumer level, whereas “food insecurity” is more systemic and economical. Food banks already exist to help people in need, as well as big actors such as Moisson Montreal and Tablée des chefs that I admire. Grocery stores and restaurants partner with them. However, for consumers to be able to share within a trusted space and community, options were limited and that is why we are installing our small BonApp fridges. Students already love the concept as they are also more price sensitive.
The point of the fridge is for people to share and BonApp is out to try to change behaviour, not supply food banks. Perhaps you’ve bought too many potatoes and know you can’t use them before they will go bad. Bring them into le 5ième and take some peppers for that stew you are making tonight.
While BonApp supplies the fridge and the handmade stand on which the fridge sits to interested community partners. The care and operation of the fridge are the responsibility of the businesses that offer to host it. These businesses will make sure the produce is rotated from back to front to ensure that the ripest fruit and veg are picked first.
If you’re interested in checking out the program, the next two launches are listed below. Both begin at 6pm:
Épicerie Loco on November 15.
le Temps libre, on Tuesday, November 22.
BonApp has two more launches planned after these, dates still to be determined. All of their money was raised through La Ruche, a Quebec-based crowdsouring platform. This is an interesting program and one that I will be keeping my eye on.