RJFPNo such thing as a free lunch? Strictly speaking, thanks to The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, this is no longer true.

If you are lucky enough to live in Brighton, then a group of dedicated Real Junk Food volunteers are now serving a delicious ‘pay as you feel’ lunch up to three times a week, from food that was heading for the bin.

Food from the bin? Well, not literally. Thanks to The Real Junk Food chief interceptor Sarah who spends most evening driving around Brighton collecting waste items from the back of supermarkets.

Did you know that almost half the food the world produces ends up as waste? In Britain alone, an estimated 18 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. ‘Use by’ and ‘best before’ dates plus our ridiculous desire for aesthetically pleasing food means 20-40% of perfectly edible vegetables don’t even reach the shops.

We have almost twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of our people yet there are 842 million individuals going hungry across the world. Food poverty does not need to be an issue.

Since February this year The Real Junk Food Project Brighton have saved over 13 tonnes of food from landfill and in September alone, 2.5 tonnes of food was intercepted and served up in their pop up cafes across the city.

The concept really is a simple one:
Intercept food waste destined for land fill and use it to feed people who need it.  The ‘pay as you feel’ concept encourages diners to really think about what every plate of food means to them. If they are unable to give a financial donation there are many other ways they can help. Perhaps a spot of table clearing or washing up. Maybe help weigh some intercepted food or perhaps offer another skill to the project.

rjfp3Food is a basic amenity that should be available to EVERYONE regardless of financial status.

The growing army of volunteers are an amazing group of individuals from all walks of life including the long term unemployed, the learning impaired, the socially isolated, and the homeless. The project already plays an important role in many of their lives and has given some a revitalized sense of worth. The Real Junk Food Project aim to support all volunteers by providing the opportunity to integrate into a caring, fun community, develop their confidence and social skills, and to gain valuable work experience. With over 200 current volunteers and more getting involved every day, this is ultimately why these essential people return week after week.

The Real Junk Food Project Brighton are currently being offered more food than they can distribute so are looking for permanent premises. This will give them the chance to run the café 7 days a week and offer extra services. As well as addressing the catastrophic problem of food waste and food poverty, they aim to use premises to help people in other ways. To provide courses and training to teach people how to be waste conscious, how to live sustainably and self-sufficiently, how to grow their own food, how to compost, and how to eat a healthily diet on a budget.

If you know a building in Brighton that is crying out for a community café please get in touch with realjunkfood@gmail.com

For more information on the project visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Author:  Sarah Ryman – A freelance writer who volunteers for The Real Junk Food Brighton.