On November 24, the residents’ association of Eungam 2-dong held a gimjang (kimchi-making for the winter) event for single elderly or single households. It was an event where local residents of Eungam 2-dong gathered together to prepare the ingredients and make kimchi. This event was held in the sharing refrigerator and sharing kitchen project of the residents’ association in Eungam 2-dong.
Entitled <Sharing Refrigerator Food Sharing with Me, You, and Us>, this project has been in full swing since the summer of 2016. The ratio of single- to two-person household in Seoul is close to 47% among all types of households. This project was initiated to resolve the problem of the disposal cost for food waste that reached KRW 20 trillion. It even goes beyond this as “food sharing” reaches the point of sharing the love for neighbors.
“Food Sharing” is a means to solve environmental problems through the reduction of food waste by sharing unopened and unused food ingredients after it was purchased – sharing this is “our neighbor’s sharing refrigerator”. It is also a project to share love with neighbors.
The Food Sharing at the residents’ association of Eungam 2-dong started since May 2017 and will continue through 2018. It is open from 10 AM to 5 PM, but closed during public holidays. Anyone can use this upon registering as a member at the Maebawi Book Café, located in the 1st floor of the residents’ association of Eungam 2-dong.
Once registered as a member, you form a community with your neighbors who are using the sharing kitchen. You can share food in real-time and increase your responsibility towards food. Moreover, we create a list of providers and users in the ledger provided to keep track of the use history.
The sharing kitchen and sharing refrigerator projects are operated together with the womens’ association and the resource volunteer camp. To ensure the cleanliness of the food, various volunteers supervise during the operating hours. Unsanitary food is also regulated per shift.
The sharing kitchen project runs the “Please Take Care of My Refrigerator” initiative, which teaches healthy eating and runs the food sharing day campaign. We educate residents on means to eat healthy and cook leftovers, and on food sharing. Aside from this, we want to contribute to the community activation by operating side projects such as eating together and cooking together (Bibimbap Day).
Eungam 2-dong’s food sharing project goes beyond simply consuming leftovers. After running the pilot project, they plan to expand the scope by improving the operational method and using the local base or guest room. They are also planning to expand job opportunities for experienced elderly people in connection with their employment in the future.
“Eating together—that’s what a family is.”
A sharing refrigerator representative mentioned that given how there’s an increasing number of single-person households, there exists hope that this shall become a place for communication not only to share food, but also for everything else. The representative laughed and said that eating together is the best way for people to become closer. Moreover, the representative expects that it would become a place comfortable enough to share stories, such as what’s inconvenient, what should be praised, etc.
In the sharing kitchen, there would also be side events to hold birthday parties for the elderly. The elderly who have participated in the event were very impressed and touched by the fact that someone is remembering their birthday, which is no longer celebrated, and that someone is actually making an effort to celebrate it with them.
So far, we have introduced the sharing refrigerator and sharing kitchen of Eungam 2-dong where we recall and rediscover the once lost meaning of our neighbors.