According to a report by Oxfam, the five richest families in the UK now have a net worth of more than the cumulative wealth of the entire bottom 20% of the population of the UK. If so many people are impoverished and go unfed on a daily basis, how could it possibly make sense that so much food goes to waste?
Chef Adam Smith decided to take matters into his own hands and rehome food that would otherwise be sent to landfills. His ‘Real Junk Food Project’ involves cooking the ingredients that major supermarkets, restaurants and households deem past their sell-by date and distributing the resultant meals to anyone who is prepared to eat at his café. Although most the food served by the café cannot legally be sold, Mr. Smith and his team of volunteers implement a ‘Pay As You Feel’ policy, which means that any financial exchange is classed as a donation. The café-workers are all adamant that just because food is past use-by date this is not necessarily an indicator that it is not fit for consumption, and indeed nobody has contracted food poisoning from the recycled food. For every tonne of food ‘intercepted’ on its way to the dump, The Real Junk Food Project makes roughly 400 meals, and any gone-off food is made into compost for use in the café’s vegetable garden.
The point of the project is to encourage people to evaluate the freshness of food for themselves, rather than relying on the advice of suppliers. Hopefully, the simple act of assessing whether one’s own food is still edible will drastically reduce the 7.2 million tonnes of food wasted by households in the UK every year.
Pay As You Feel recycled food cafés are popping up all over the world, catering to everyone who wants a hot meal and a chat about food waste. Anyone who doesn’t have a few coins to donate is encouraged to help with the washing up, in a valiant endeavour to simultaneously decrease world hunger and food wastage.
– Anjuli R. Kumar S. –