As someone interested in food waste and PAYF cafes I was thrilled to be able to visit the Real Junk Food cafe in Manchester during a recent trip to the city. Set up after a meeting with Adam Smith, the founder of the ‘Feed Bellies Not Bins’ movement, this city centre cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and evening meal. Food is available to take away or there’s a downstairs seating area with table service.
One of the aims of the project is to stop food waste from happening, to raise awareness and to re-purpose food that would usually end up in landfill to be used in the cafe. As we’ve discussed on the blog previously during our visits to Refuse, this is perfectly edible food. The focus is on producing healthy meals that anyone who drops into the cafe on Oxford Street can enjoy on a pay-as-you-can basis.
Vegan options were clearly highlighted on the menu and there was more than one dish available, too. The menu is subject to change depending on what is donated to the project from supermarkets, etc. Gavin had the vegetarian version of the Mexican Chilli Beans, which were served on toasted ciabatta.
I opted for the Asian style Noodle Broth and helped myself to some of the fruit juice in the self service fridge. Once we were finished we put our payment into the paper envelopes that were left on the table. This is such a good idea as it means those who can’t afford to contribute don’t need to feel self conscious about the fact.
The project is about tackling the pressing issue of food waste but, in a city like Manchester with high rates of homelessness, there have been positive benefits in reclaiming this surplus to those who are in poverty.
If you’re in Manchester we’d recommend popping in to support this great initiative or looking out for similar projects in your own area. You can donate to the Real Junk Food project and also volunteer if this is something close to your own heart. Find out more here.
Thanks for reading,