‘Do the right thing as consumers and eliminate food waste’

March 20, 2017

CONSCIOUS DECISION: The choices people locally make about their food can a negative or positive impact on societies and communities, says Real Junk Food Project founder Adam Smith.

LOCAL BRANCH? The Real Junk Food Project has a foothold in the North of England. Could the concept be successful in Dorset and Somerset? Picture courtesy of the Real Junk Food Project.

FOOD WASTE: Cup cakes, like these freshly made ones, were part of 15,000 baked just so that the BBC ‘s Children In Need could make the longest line of cup cakes.

ATROCIOUS STUNT: The BBC was condemned for the “atrocious” waste of resources to create this “record” knowing the all the work done to make them would have been in vain if they had not asked the Real Junk Food Project to come and collect them to distribute in Bristol and Birmingham.


CAN a pioneering project based in Yorkshire be rolled out into Dorset and Somerset to make a dent in the amount of food waste that is being generated?

According to the Global Food Losses and Food Waste figures of 2011, 1.3M tonnes of food – or a third of food produced globally for food consumption – gets wasted annually, and up 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead an active life.

The Real Junk Food Project are a global, organic network of Pay As You Feel cafes that divert food destined for waste and turn it into delicious and healthy palates.

Here in Dorset it was reported by the Dorset Echo in September last year that Tesco’s in Portland were donating surplus produce to seven local charities as part of the Community Food Connection Service.

They opened in Leeds in December 2013 and in their first year they took 23 tons of food from being sent to waste and we fed 10,000 people in that small café that fits 24 to 26 people at a time and over 12,000 meals were made.

Founder Adam Smith explains in this video why he felt compelled to act and in his own unique way, made a conscientious decision to act when visiting Australia, working as a chef and on farms.

On sharing his vision with one of the team leaders on one of the farms working told him “You can’t change the world unless the change the hometown first.

“We were advised to let it happen organically. Within 13 months of being open we’ve had hundreds of inquiries from all over the world. Potentially there is 120 cafes about to open and we have between 25 and 30 cafes around the world right now.”

In Leeds in 2012, 22,000 people were officially diagnosed as malnourished, and this included children, and Adam decided he was going to stand for this anymore.

“I just don’t understand why we allow this to happen. So I decided that I was going to lift a finger up to the system and I was going to do something about it. The system is set up to exploit humanity and the environment. The most productive way to transfer the energy from the food is by feeding people, not bins.

“We get food out of supermarket bins, allotments, food banks, markets you name it everywhere and anywhere. People e-mail and ring me all the time saying ‘Can you come and collect?’ and we always say yes and use our own judgement. As human beings we have the power to know whether this food is fit for us or not? We are manipulated by these expiration dates.

“Supermarkets know it is a very, very powerful tool, for us to just see this date, throw this produce in the bin and then go back and consume again, but this food is perfectly edible, there is nothing wrong with it.

Adam and his team went down to Gloucestershire Airport to collect the remains of the longest line of cup cakes as part of the BBC’s Children In Need campaign and he described as an “atrocity” as flour, eggs, sugar, labour, water and resources used to create this food in order for it to be just wasted.

“If we hadn’t been there, it would have all gone in the bin. So afterwards, we packed up the van, I stopped off in Bristol and then Birmingham and within 24 hours all the cupcakes were gone. I fed them to people instead of feeding them to bins.

“Do you really think I want to spend time away from my family driving around picking up food because of some nonsense expiration dates? Our concept, our design is to put ourselves out of business. We don’t want to be facilitating sheer amounts of food waste in 10, 15 or 20 years time.

“We need to teach the next generation of children to grow up and not depend on food banks and not depend on Pay As You Feel cafes. They need to understand where food comes from and be more associated with food.

“Your actions, the way that you buy food, how we handle food, how we handle our food waste, is going to have an impact. Every single conscious decision you make is going to have a negative or positive impact on our environment, on our society. Please do the right thing.”

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