War on waste is to cafe’s taste

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A group of volunteers will open a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ cafe in Hebden Bridge, inspired by the nationally successful Real Junk Food Project network.

The café, which is due to open in April, will work with local food producers and retailers, using products that would otherwise go to waste and turning them into healthy and nutritious meals.

Operating on a ‘pay as you feel’ donation basis, the cafe will also be a multi-purpose hub offering cooking courses and community events, aimed at educating people on food waste. It will also share the space with Shallot Café, which is a pop-up bistro operating in the evenings offering vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Volunteers will be trained to use the food waste safely and the café aims to eventually employ them to take on roles such as head chef, kitchen manager and volunteer co-coordinators.

The first Real Junk Food café opened in Leeds in December 2013, and in its first year alone saved 23 tones of food waste from being sent to landfill.

It fed over 10,000 people 12,000 meals and has lead to a network of global cafes being opened around the world from Sheffield to Australia.

The Real Junk Food Project is designed to be a short-term project, with the aim of educating people to the issue of food waste and raising awareness of the need to change the food system.

Laura Holmes, one of the volunteers, says: “We believe there is a need for a Real Food Junk Café in every area, to provide a space where not only can people eat a healthy, nutritious meal and pay for it however they can – whether that is in money, volunteer time or other useful donations - but is also a space in which we can educate people to the huge issue that is food waste.

“We hope that the Calderdale Real Junk Food Café will provide a much needed service for our area.”

The project hosted a three-course meal this Monday at the café at Salem Mill, Hebden Bridge, held in conjunction with Growing Futures, and which was an evening of food and conversation about what a fair, affordable and sustainable food system might look like - both in the Calder Valley and at a national level.

On Saturday, and Sunday, April 2 and 3, the café will be upcycling all the furniture that has been donated and invites people to come and help - and enjoy some food from the kitchen.

Anyone interested in the upcoming events or in volunteering at the café can visit the café’s Facebook page, The Real Junk Food Project Calderdale or Twitter @TRJFPCalderdale