Real Junk Food Project in Leeds (and Brighton)

A new concept in food shopping has touched down on the Grangefield Industrial Estate in a town called Pudsey, near Leeds.

'The Real Junk Food Project' is the first of its kind to offer food on the basis of paying what you can afford, rather than items having their own specific price (scroll down for cafes in Brighton).

If you don't have cash available, you can also pay with your time or labour to contribute towards the project.

The shop is called 'The Warehouse' and its new customers are presented with a range of foods that have been discarded or donated from local businesses, allotments, food banks, restaurants, supermarkets, cafes, food photographers, events and functions. 

 

A lifeline for low income families

The new concept is being hailed as a lifeline for families on low incomes who struggle to make ends meet when it comes to feeding their family.

Adam Smith, who founded the Real Junk Food Project, has said that his plans are to open a warehouse selling surplus food in every major city throughout the UK.

“We’re about to start in Sheffield and Bradford. Every city will now obtain central storage and run a ‘people’s supermarket’ as well as Fuel for School.”

“We need volunteers; driving, weighing, sorting, stacking shelves, cleaning and much more - Lots of opportunities for people to get involved and give back.”

Fuel for School

The 'Fuel for School' initialtive runs parallel to the project and its mission is to deliver a range of surplus foods that it collects from supermarkets and delivers to local schools. The staple foods include bread, a variety of dairy products and fresh vegetables for kids to munch on - The food that was destined for landfill now feeds an astonishing 12,000 kids per week.

The Real Junk Food Project is also working hard to expand its 'pay as you feel' cafes. Since the project first began, hundreds of cafes that feed customers on the reclaimed food have opened around the country.

10 years of experience

Adam is a level 3 qualified chef. He has 10 years experience around the world working in high level kitchens, including running several kitchens as a head chef in Australia and the UK.

On the Real Junk Food Project website, Adam says: "We intercept food that is past its expiration date and use our own judgement on whether we believe the food is fit for human consumption or not, by smelling it, tasting it and visually inspecting it. We do not turn food away simply because it has ‘expired’, but we will never serve food that we believe is unfit for human consumption".

What shoppers think

Kirsty, a shopper at 'The Warehouse', was recently diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. This meant her husband was forced to give up his job in order to care for Kirsty and the family's 3 kids. The sudden drop in income made it difficult for them to put food on the table but the innovative new shopping concept provided a much needed ray of hope.

She said: "It's been our lifeline over the past month or so. With three young children and two adults to feed we started to struggle straight away. Luckily we took the plunge to go to the warehouse and it was amazing!"

The family have been able to provide themselves with a broad range of nutritional foods and Kirsty went on to say: "We've even had baby milk on one occasion and our baby is 7 months so it was perfect".

Thanks to the inspirational project, she's also now planning to run a workshop which teaches people how to make jam after she used fruit from the store to make her own.

Cafes in Sussex

If you'd like to visit one of the project's 'Pay as you feel' cafes, there are 3 to choose from locally in Sussex - You can also find out more by visiting their Brighton pay as you feel cafe website.

St. Luke’s Church
64 Old Shoreham Road
Brighton, BN1 5DD
Lunch: Monday-Wednesday, from 12pm

The Hollingbean
Hollingdean Community Centre
Thompson Road
Brighton, BN1 7BH
Lunch: Thursdays, from 1pm

One Church
21 Gloucester Place
Brighton, BN1 4AA
Lunch: Fridays, from 12pm

Where does the food come from?

Aside from getting some of their food from supermarkets the project also receives discarded food from a variety of other sources including allotments, food banks, restaurants, cafes, food photographers, events and functions.

Video of Adam speaking at Tedx

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