Let's REALLY feed the world
We're opening up a "Pay As You Feel" café in Watford that will serve food that would have gone in the bin. We are raising money to buy a van to collect the food, equip a kitchen, decorate the Café space and for running costs for the first few months. Food waste is not a local problem, it’s a global one and our café will make a difference to our community, whilst campaigning for change. For us to do this we need your support.
How it all started
Just over a year ago in a Watford coffee shop, a group of us talked about food waste and how extreme the problem has become. When we waste food we also waste land, water, diesel used in farming, packaging, energy to refrigerate and so much more. The lowest carbon, most sustainable thing we can do with food that is going to go to waste is put it in a belly, any belly, rather than a bin, any bin (landfill, anaerobic digestion, or compost).
We came across The Real Junk Food Project, a movement which started in Leeds four years ago and now has over 120 cafes internationally. It intercepts perfectly edible food from going to waste and brings people together to cook and eat it. We loved the idea of "Pay As You Feel". It’s a way of not just valuing food for its monetary cost, but by the resources, time and volunteer energy that goes into making each meal. We value every person that walks into the cafes not by the coins in their pockets or the label someone has given them, but by the unique skills, time and energy they bring.
What we are doing now!
On 16th September we did our first pop up community café at Centrepoint Community Centre in Watford. We have now saved over 1 Ton of food from being thrown away and have held a further 30 pop up events all over Watford including a Spring Fair in March. We have also been asked to cater a wedding in August for 130 people using intercepted food.
Each week we collect food from supermarkets big and small, wholesalers and local projects and take it home to turn into meals and snacks for our café goers at the weekend.
We want to go further. We want to start a full time cafe, a little community hub for everyone, a place open every day of the week. We would also like to buy a van and employ a couple of staff to manage the café, food collections and volunteers. This will allow us to collect so much more food, feed 10 times the people and support so many local groups. In our permanent home we intend to offer cookery classes, workshops, recipes and discussion.
Using wasted food ingredients, focussing on cooking and serving hot meals, and offering meals on a pay-as-you-feel basis means that The Real Junk Food Project also reverses the trend of the poorest in our city having the worst diets, and having really limited access to healthy food. By sourcing food that would go to waste, the project intercepts a huge quantity of basic, healthy ingredients, offering access to good food, and further bucking the trend of the most vulnerable in our society being offered heavily processed, tinned or dried meals.
There are currently around 8 million people in the UK who are in poverty so deep that they can’t afford enough food, let alone access healthy, nutritious food. At the same time huge amounts of perfectly edible food is wasted. We think this is crazy, and we want to fight to change it.
In order to bring this dream to life, we are looking for support to raise a target of £25,000.
What will the money be used for?
- Renovating and kitting-out the space to become a functioning cafe
- Kitchen equipment (such as a freezer, oven, appliances and utensils)
- Start-up running costs (including electricity, gas, water, heating)
- First few months’ rent, and salary for a food redistribution co-ordinator, to connect with more supermarkets and get collecting food every day
- And of course a van, to give Dave (Jane’s Car) a break and help intercept food from further away and every day of the week.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
We really want this to be about community. Every event is run by a team of volunteers. We need your help. This can be your skills, time, money and connections. Please share our CrowdFunder page, and help us spread the word.
Because we’re trying to be as sustainable as possible some of our costs might change, for example, the cost of our kitchen will depend on how much equipment we can source second hand.