The Real Junk Food Project is a collaborative effort between catering professionals and activists to bring about a radical change in our food system. Our first step to achieve this challenging task is to intercept perfectly edible food that would otherwise not make it to plate and serve it as meals in the café or distribute it through our food boutique. As well as the positive environmental impacts of reducing edible food waste the project also has clear social benefits through operating a strictly Pay-as-you-feel (PAYF) policy.
The Real Junk Food Project provides meals made from waste food diverted from landfill at the Pay As You Feel (PAYF) Café in Leeds. Customers at the café pay how much they think their meal is worth and those that can’t afford to buy meals from the cafe can volunteer their services to earn meals.
The idea came from Yorkshire chef Adam Smith who became preoccupied with the growing problem of wasted food after spending a year working on farms in Australia. The volunteers who work at the PAYF café go out and gather unwanted food from shops and restaurants and then whip up meals from what their collections. The menu changes daily depending on the food gathered that day.
The café in Armley represents more than just a physical space. It has been a source of inspiration and a launching pad for similar projects all around the country, with Junk Food cafés springing up everywhere from Manchester to Brighton. To date, we have served nearly 3000 people hot meals in the Armley café, and intercepted more than 10,000 kilos of waste.
Currently, our home is up for sale and with your help we’d like to buy it. The café has become an invaluable resource for so many in the local community, and to see it close would be a hard blow to everyone who has worked so hard to build it into what it is today. With these funds, we can buy the café outright and continue feeding the world with food waste for years to come.
If you can help us reach this goal, we’ve got loads of exciting perks from a PDF packed full with waste saving recipe ideas to full junk food catering for your next party or event. And because Junk Food Project cafes all around the country are supporting us, you don’t need to be based in Leeds to take advantage of our perks.