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Free Community Fridge Idea Taking Hold In Davis

DAVIS (CBS13) – Davis residents are leading the charge with a community fridge offering free shared fruits and vegetables.

Now the man behind the shared produce wants to create even more.

Mo Alloush and his dog Lola are on the front lines of a new food sharing service – right in their Davis front yard.

"I was a little hesitant at first to be honest," Alloush said. "People have been very curious, people have been participating and just telling us they think it's a great idea."

It's called the "freedge" – as in, "free fridge."

People put in produce they don't want or take produce they do.

The goal? Waste less, feed more.

Curtis Atkisson is a new fan.

"I got a few tomatoes, a cucumber, squash, some peppers and even a jar of pickles," Atkisson said. "I think that anyone who's trying to incorporate fresh produce into their diet on a regular basis can benefit from something like this."

This free fridge wasn't always accepted in Davis.

At first, Yolo County wasn't open to the idea. They shut it down, calling it unlawful; the county health department was concerned over food safety.

It has since OK'd the freedge – as long as no canned or baked goods are exchanged.

The founder, UC Davis grad student Ernst Bertone Oehninger is on a mission to grow.

"Now we want the idea to expand," Oehninger said.

Besides Davis, he's found food-sharing partners in other places. Freedges are up in Nevada, Canada, France and his native Brazil.

He wants more in California.

"I think this project can help in the sense of community, it helps with food waste, it helps people who are going through hunger problems," Oehninger said.

There are now two freedges in Davis and counting. The group promoting them formed as a non-profit this summer.

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