Feed bellies, not bins: Real Junk Food Project brings their unique initiative to reduce food waste to Glasgow.
Organisation “intercepts” wasted food that is still edible and distributes it to those in need
The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP), an award-winning organization that focuses on re-using previously wasted edible foods, hosted a pay-as-you-feel dinner on 25 February for over 40 guests at Finns Place in Glasgow’s South Side.
The event aimed to increase awareness of food waste in society, while raising money to expand future projects in the Glasgow area.
Founder Adam Smith, a professional chef for ten years, began TRJFP in 2013 in Leeds, as a direct response to the overwhelming volume of global food that winds up going to waste.
Smith left his successful career in kitchens to revolutionise the disposal of avoidable food waste. The initiative strives to “intercept” food that is still edible, but would otherwise end up in landfill sites.
Data published by Food Agriculture and Organization of the United Nations (FOA) states that “one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year—approximately 1.3 billion tonnes—gets lost or wasted”.
Further FOA data indicates most of the usable food that is thrown away in Europe could feed up to 200 million people. Instead, the food ends up in bins, landfills or gets wasted. Such unnecessary wastefulness has spawned the project’s unofficial hashtag — #belliesnotbins.
Companies such as Wholefoods, Morrisons and Stalks & Stems are working together with TRJFP in contributing goods they no longer need, which the organisation then distributes using its pay-as-you-feel events.
A sizable vehicle is necessary to gather large quantities of food that would otherwise be discarded, and that’s what the fundraiser in Glasgow was centered around.
Director of the Glasgow division of TRJFP, Laura Wells, estimates the Glasgow group has collected “about 2 tonnes of food and fed around 2850 people”, but wants even more.
“My goal [is to] have a kitchen, where it can be an informal space for training, to develop a line of chutney/jams/kimchi – open to all to develop their skills and be a safe, social space,” said Wells.
“The kitchen will also be used for our catering jobs and when not used, will be hired out at an affordable rate to new startups”.
The TRJFP Glasgow event not only left members of the local community happy and well fed, but also managed to raise £370 for a much-needed TRJFP van.
Local resident Birgit Schroeter described why she was so keen to attend the event: “It’s a cause I believe in. I’m really happy to come and support this because I feel in current society I think it’s absolutely not acceptable to throw food out that’s edible.
She added: “I also really like that it’s a social occasion, because I think food is meant to be social and shared with people. Some people who are here would maybe not be around other people.”
To bring the event to a close, TRJFP left a table filled with food for everyone to take home with them, including bread, canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, cakes, and more.
For more information on The Real Junk Food Project, visit: therealjunkfoodproject.org.