In 10 Months, This Cafe Has Fed 10,000 People With 20 Tons Of Unwanted Food

Cafe_1By Amanda Froelich

Are you aware that in the United States, nearly 40% of the food produced is tossed into the trash? As it makes its way to the landfill, 795 million people in the world wonder where their next meal will come from.

It’s ridiculous – as well as disheartening, which is why activists around the planet are doing their part to help reduce food waste and feed others with the discarded scraps.

This is exactly what Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, is doing in Armley, Leeds.

The social entrepreneur has created an empire of ‘social cafes’ through which to cook up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted products from supermarkets, independent grocers, and food banks.

Leeds3The most unique aspect of the business model is that it has a “pay as you feel” rule. This policy encourages patrons to pay what they feel they can pay. If that amounts to nothing, then they can work for their meal.

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The Independent reports that in only 10 months, Smith has helped feed 10,000 people on 20 tons of unwanted food. In addition, he’s raised over 30,000 pounds (UK).

Leeds6Since its success, forty-seven other similar style cafes have popped up in Manchester, Bristol, Saltaire, Los Angeles, Brazil, Warsaw, and Zurich.

In the United States, a similar grocery store called The Daily Table transforms unwanted or ‘expired’ leftovers into perfectly nourishing and tasty food for customers. The founder of that endeavor is Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s.

It’s difficult for entrepreneurs inspired to repurpose food to carry out their vision, as in many areas of the world, retailers can be prosecuted if they sell food after the use-by date. The ‘best-before’ date is allowed, which is why Smith’s organization wants the law to be changed to prevent supermarkets from disposing of so much food at the fear of prosecution.

Leeds8 LEEDS9Thankfully, progress is being made. Earlier this year, France made it illegal for supermarkets to purposely waste food. Stores must now donate unsold food to charity, for animal feed, or for farming compost.

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Unfortunately, groups like Smith’s are often looked down upon because they seek food others deem not optimal for consumption. With a change of perspective, however, everyone might come to understand that a good share of food thrown into dumpsters is perfectly edible.

Recognizing this sooner rather than later would benefit everyone on the planet.

9717689-largeIn Britain, food prices have risen 47% since 2003, which is quite high compared to the United States’ 30.4%, reports The Independent. Germany’s food inflation is 22.1% and France’s is 16.7%.

When people struggle to afford the basic necessities in life, you can be certain there’s a fault – if not many – with ‘the system’.

LEEDS10The Real Junk Food Project is an amazing concept and business model which will, hopefully, inspire other social cafes to sprout and blossom, as well.

What are your thoughts? Comment below and please share this news!

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  • twinkiedooter

    Amazingly Food Stamps require you to buy food that needs to be cooked. You get a rotten deal with FS any way you go around it. If you are a supposed able bodied adult under age 50 you are required to do some sort of work for your FS monthly benefit. Just HOW do you get to their workplaces if you do not have a car and there is no public transportation? That’s your problem to solve according to them.

  • David Mowers

    There is a documentary out now that explains how in the U.S. grocer’s and food distributors get a 100% tax write off for expired goods so they over produce and shorten the sell-by dates to increase profit margins.

    It is a total scam.

  • David Mowers

    GM destroyed every effort by former administrations to create a national rail system, a bus system for every city and subways in every city. Crony capitalism has ruined hundreds of millions of American lives.

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