Interview and photography by Cecilia Nguyen on behalf of Ink Magazine.
Meet Taylor Scott, the rockstar behind the RVA community fridge. She led the initiative to put up the first Richmond fridge, and, along with countless fridge volunteers, now has a second one up. Scott walks us through what it means to the Richmond community to have this fridge, and where she hopes it will go.
Ink Magazine: Why was the community fridge something you felt passionate to start?
Taylor Scott: I actually got a hydroponic farm stand in my apartment. It grows so much food that I just was like let me just try to get my friends to eat healthier and give some food to my friends. And I kind of was like, let me just give food to the community and everyone can eat. Why not? I was just kind of overwhelmed with the passion to help people and give people some food, especially healthy food because I eat veggies and plants all day and I feel like I’m trying to, not push it on people, but slowly slide it in there that there are options for eating healthy; especially people that aren’t able to get access to healthy foods like all the way in Northside you have to walk all the way to Kroger somehow. So putting it in an area that could really use the fridge, the produce, the necessities, the goods, it really means a lot when you’re able to provide for people, especially the community.
Ink Magazine: Why do you feel like it’s important to the community?
Taylor: I feel like it’s important, especially right now because of the times we’re in, you know, one: this crazy pandemic, two: this Richmond housing crisis really has people out in the streets without the means to get food. COVID really has people without jobs and people don’t have enough money in their pockets to get groceries. Some people are really doing their hardest to make ends meet and they see the fridge and they’re like, “I needed this, this fed me for the night”, “I really didn’t have the means to get this”, or “I didn’t know where to even get this.”
Just really seeing the fact that since the minute we put it out here, the fridge is always looking empty to me. Someone’s just always coming by and bringing something to the fridge or taking something from the fridge. We just saw someone come by and bring something to the fridge. It’s constantly like being in contact with the community; it’s constantly giving and receiving from the community. To see them want to interact with it so much and to see it give so much back to them is just so rewarding.
Ink Magazine: How did you get started with the fridge?
Taylor: Boom! So, I asked my friends on my Instagram, “Who wants to help me with the fridge?” and I got like seven people and they were like, “Yeah, we’ll help.” So then i made the Instagram page for the fridge like the next day and I put up that I was just going to have a general meeting if anyone wanted to come, and then I got like 15 people! So I was super excited and in that meeting I actually had Christina (who donated the first fridge), and Ayana, (who painted it for us), both offered at that first meeting so we already had the artist and we already had the fridge like day one, so that was amazing. So we really had to focus the first two months on establishing where we were going to put it and we had a little push a back on putting it on Southside off of Chamberlayne because of city limits. We never really found out what the city limits were because city hall, after the inauguration, city hall just didn’t wanna be in city hall so we just never really found out about the city limits, but we’re still putting the fridges up anyways. So we put the fridge up at Pomona, and if they want us to move it we’ll move it in the inside of Pomona, but ever since we put it up they’ve come by and they’ve inspected it but they haven’t said anything or reached out so we’ll see.
Ink Magazine: Where do you hope to see the fridge in the future?
Taylor: We actually got a donor who is actually going to donate us a fridge, one fridge for the next, now eleven months. Which is frickin’ way over what I thought from the beginning, because my idea was just to put up the one. So for someone to be like, “Yeah, I’ll give you one per month for the next 12 months”, that’s out of this world. But I’d love to see a chain reaction, like the 757 community fridges, the Centerville community fridges, trying to put up more fridges in these areas, like seeing a bunch of the RVA community fridges in the area, partnering with schools, partnering with mutual aids, businesses, restaurants; I want them everywhere! Every block needs a fridge.
Ink Magazine: What do you want people to know about the fridge?
Taylor: The fridge is located at 2025 Venable St., Richmond VA, at Pomona Plants and it is open 24/7. And you are more than welcome to take what you need or bring what you can to the fridge and put goods inside the fridge. If you ever need to get in contact with me, you can reach us at RVACommunityFridges on Instagram and Facebook. And you can email me at email@example.com. The next one will be at 2414 Hull St., behind the Bearded Kitchen and run by Bryan who also owns the Intergalactic Taco truck. (Update: the fridge is there now.)
Taylor’s final thoughts:
Thank you everyone for all the support and the love! I’m going to be an Alumni in the paper. Thank you guys, really it’s a community effort, without you all we wouldn’t even have the fridge up and running and self sustaining all the time.