Project Real Junk Food: Imagine Saving Earth By Eating Waste

Project Real Junk Food: Imagine Saving Earth By Eating Waste

The biggest cause of global warming is human activity. Any activity we conduct contributes to this global disaster, and by any we mean every single activity. Yes, even simple activities like cooking and eating also contribute to global warming.

In fact, our current food production and management system is one of the biggest contributors for global warming. A report found that if we want to reverse this condition and bring back the earth to its former state before global warming, we need to change our food production system before 2040.

Not only the production system, our food management needs to be revised too. Even though many people are starving all over the world, not less people are wasting food. It proves the ineffectiveness in our current food management system.

In addition, to produce the waste, we have emitted some amount of greenhouse gasses. Concerning on that, Real Junk Food Project was formed. This project is pretty interesting, because they try to tackle global warming using leftovers.

Interesting, isn’t it? That’s why, in this article, we will talk about the project.

The Real Junk Food

The name of this project is The Real Junk Food Project, but it doesn’t have anything to do with junk foods produced by fast-food chains. Rather than junk food, this project is dealing with real junk, which is then re-converted into food.

No need to feel disgusted, the junk in this case is not rotten nor dirty food whose place is in composting bins. What’s called ‘junk’ in this story is ‘ugly’ food that cannot be sold for cosmetic reasons or just unused ingredients.

Real Junk Food Project (RJFP) is aiming to save as much edible food as possible from entering trash bin. Food redistribution is their main focus, meaning RJFP is concentrating in collecting food from supermarkets and other kinds of food distributors which is going to be thrown away, and then make use of it.

Those ‘junks’ are then distributed to cafes that have joined the movement, cooked into proper culinary products, and sold to customers. Yes, those cafes don’t give the food for free, but they make sure that everyone can enjoy the meal with no worry.

“This is not a cafe for the homeless, or a cafe for the elderly, it is not a food bank. The cafe starts from an environmental stance, to stop all this food going into landfill, and the social element of people coming together to eat and chat comes out of that,” said Chrissy Weller, the owner of one RJFP café in Twickenham.

Pay As You Feel

When you read that they don’t give the food for free, and the owner said that the café is not for the homeless, do you think that they are ‘bad’? Well, hold your bad thought, since that’s not what they really mean, nor practice.

Homeless people are still welcome to the café and they are still served the same food other customers are having. But how about the payment? This is the thing that makes RJFP cafes are different from ordinary cafes.

“We welcome anyone here to pay as much as they feel for the food, or nothing at all. So you get a big mix of people sitting around a table talking and eating together,” Weller explained. If they cannot pay for the food they just need to tell the cashier.

But if they want to pay some money for the food they have been having, they can pay as much as they can. Paying for your food can give you the feeling of well-being, so those RJFP cafes said that they still accept homeless people’s money to give those people the feeling of well-being.

The menu the café serve varies, depending on what ingredients they collected from the distributors. Actually, the offerings are pretty sophisticated, like homemade apple tarte tatin, banana bread, and soups which all of them are labelled Pay As You Feel. Isn’t that good?

A Slight Difference

Market Food Waste (WIkimedia Commons)

To pay or to not pay, the choice is on the customers’ hands. But eating the food made from ‘junk’ is another case, in the future it can be mandatory. We waste a lot of food every day, while we have sacrificed our planet’s prolonged existence to produce the food.

A research found out that about one-third of food produced by human go to trash bins wasted. Approximately, the number has reached 1.3 billion tons, which costs us about $310 billion to $680 billion, every year.

The Real Junk Food Project offers a solution to the problem. RJFP encourage supermarkets to hand as much unwanted food as possible to their cafes. Not only that, the project even go door to door to collect as much food waste as possible for their café.

This way, they make sure that people who live in their area don’t throw away edible yet unwanted food and ingredients to waste. Not only be able to distribute ‘unwanted’ food and ingredients to those who need food, this project can also help us to avoid inefficiency greenhouse gasses production.

By consuming the ‘unwanted’ food and ingredients, we can avoid burdening the earth from more greenhouse gasses emission. Rather, we consume the parts that for long have been left untouched. It is like killing two birds with one stone, actually.

One Of Three

food waste (Wikimedia Commons)

‘Pay As You Feel café’ is just one of three projects offered by The Real Junk Food Project. There are other two projects that they are currently working on to make sure they can maximize their distribution ‘junk food’ to those who need.

The cafe is the first project, while the second project is Sharehouse. RJFP Sharehouse is the prototype of unwanted food market, where people can collect food collected by RJFP from variety of streams on Pay As You Feel basis.

The third project is Fuel For School, that partners with schools to feed students. Not only that, this project includes Pay As You Feel market stalls operation for the students. RJFP also offers free education to students about excess food.

The only problem is that the foundation still has no core funding for long-term continuity. If you are interested in supporting this project, you can visit their official site.


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