The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham – Feeding BELLIES not BINS

Around 1/3 of of our food, globally ends up in the bin.  If all 1.3 million tonnes of this waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

This a disaster not only for our planet but also for the people that live on it.

In the UK alone, hundreds of thousands are living in poverty, desperate for food.

It was this reality that spurred Adam Smith, a young chef into action.

The First TRJFP cafe in Armley, Leeds. 2013

The First TRJFP cafe in Armley, Leeds. 2013

In 2013, he hatched an environmental, non for profit organisation called “The Real Junk Food Project”.

His vision?  To shake up the system and divert food destined for landfill onto plates.

Today, TRJFP is a global network, with 120 affiliated projects across 7 different countries.

One of these is @TRJFPBrum and Dibah, a volunteer at the Birmingham hub explains how they operate.

 

‘Our aim is to raise the issue of food waste. We collect food that’s past it’s sell-by date from supermarkets and other food outlets 7 days a week, but we’re not a food bank’.

Delicious food…formerly known as waste @TRFPBrum

@TRJFPBrum there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  

‘We believe this food is still worth something, so we operate a ‘Pay As You Feel’ system’ but money is not the only currency.’

 

 

 

 

 

‘Whether we’re giving food out as groceries or making it into meals at one of our five community cafes, it’s affordable for everyone; the affluent, the homeless and hungry, the elderly or environmentalists. Those who are money-poor have other things to offer in return; cooking, cleaning, accounting, delivering, we have over 100 volunteers here from all walks of life’.

            Any skill comes in handy @TRJFPBrum!

Last year in the UK alone The Real Junk Food Project intercepted around 400 tonnes of waste food.  That’s enough to feed a wholesome meal to 800 thousand hungry tums.

 

 

 

On the surface It sounds like a huge success story but sadly not all the food they intercept makes it as far as the plate.

 

 ‘It’s great that we’re feeding those in food poverty but first and foremost we’re an environmental charity.  We don’t want to exist, we shouldn’t exist, but the mountain of food produced and wasted just keeps growing.  Inevitably we inherit food which isn’t fit for human consumption or can’t be distributed in time before its use-by date… so a significant amount still ends up in landfill, causing enormous environmental harm’.

Installing a Ridan on a wet May morning@TRJFPBrum’s newly aquired allotment.

 

So Dibah and her colleagues decided to deploy two Ridan composters, which can be fed almost any food and they’re certainly not fussy about use-by dates!

 

 

 

 

 

‘We thought by composting our excess food, rather than sending it to landfill, we’d get nearer to closing the recycling loop …. and produce less pollution.  The Ridans will help us to achieve that goal’..

 

 

@TRJFPBrum’s allotment is already producing fresh veg, growing in The Ridan compost which will feed more hungry mouths.

@ TRJFPBrum’s Dibah loads a Ridan with mouldy bread.

Fellow @TRJFP volunteer Ezra gives The Ridan a good old turn!

Dibah’s so pleased she already has plans to spread the word.

‘The Ridan is working really well.  We need to educate people on how to reduce food waste; Birmingham could be a lot more sustainable as a city. Our long-term aim is to help our community to waste less in the first place but we also want to get local businesses interested in recycling excess food in a carbon neutral way’.

 

‘We’ll be saying, “come and have a look at this, you can have one of these Ridan’s in your back yard; it composts your food waste, helps the environment and brings down your refuse bills”!

 

To volunteer @TRJFPBrum contact: www.trjfpbrum.com

 

 

 

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