Meat Locker Pilot Project

I never really thought about it before, but how did people store meat before refrigerator/freezer units became commercially available?

meat csa

Meat CSA #4/ Garin Fons/CC BY-NC-SA

Some people, it would seem, rented space in communal freezers. And in a case of what’s old is new again, in Ithaca, N.Y., they’re doing it again.

The Meat Locker Project is the brainchild of two Cornell University Cooperative Extension specialists. The project, which consists of two 10 foot by 14 foot lockers in downtown Ithaca and nearby Corning, will:

provide consumers with a convenient space for bulk meat storage, saving consumers money while expanding the meat market and farmers’ profits. The Project was inspired by the communal freezers that were popular prior to the 1960s, when families started purchasing personal freezer units and buying grocery store meat.

Meat locker users will pay between three and five dollars per month to rent one of 50 lockers, and they will be able to access their lockers during designated hours. Farmers don’t have to pay into the locker system; consumers can choose to purchase meat from any farmer. LeRoux hopes the freezer space will incentivize consumers to up their meat purchases, expanding the local meat market.