Plans to open Manchester’s first ‘Junk Food’ cafe where all ingredients have been saved from landfill

Plans are underway to open Manchester’s first cafe serving FREE food – using ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away.

The “Real Junk Food Project” in the city center would use fruits, vegetables and other foods that were fresh and edible but had to be landfilled in an effort to combat food waste.

And all dishes would be served on a ‘pay as you wish’ basis, meaning people pay whatever amount they think it’s worth in cash or offer their time in return.

Seating 65, the cafe is said to be the UK’s biggest ‘junk food’ project – a movement to reduce the amount of edible food sent to landfill by shops and markets.

The cafe’s organizers are currently in talks with Manchester City Council to take over a building in the city center where it would be based.

Corin Bell cooks at a pop-up event for the Real Junk Food Project Manchester

If a location can be found quickly, it will open late this year or early 2016.

The plans for the cafe follow the ‘Feed the 5K’ event organized by food waste campaigners at Piccadilly Gardens in June 2013 – when 5,000 dinners were handed out made entirely from ingredients diverted from landfill.

The Real Junk Food Manchester project is led by sustainable food consultant Corin Bell and Adele Jordan, director of Cracking Good Food – a Chorlton-based organization that tackles food poverty and teaches low-cost cooking and recipes.

They were inspired by the first ‘Junk Food’ cafe, which opened near Leeds in December 2013.

Read:Manchester’s first ‘pay-as-you-stay’ café hangout opens

They collect 50 tonnes of unwanted food every 12 months and now feed thousands of people, many of whom cannot afford a nutritious meal and volunteer at the cafe instead.

The Manchester project would work with the charity FareShare, based in New Smithfield Market, and would also aim to collect ingredients from shops and restaurants in the city centre.

There are also plans to open a learning kitchen to offer cooking diplomas to the unemployed.

Waste scale, cabbage destined for landfill

Corin, who lives in Withington, said: “We will be working with FareShare, but we are looking to collect food waste from everywhere from large supermarkets to small places.

“We also plan to have big brand trolleys to take businesses downtown so they can donate.

“Pay as you feel for the food is about people who don’t have a lot of money and can access food.

“It’s also about how you choose to pay – you can have people who don’t have the money but have the time and can volunteer washing pots.

“At the moment we are looking for as much support as possible from the community, for people to say they would welcome this and support it.”

To find out more, search for “The Real Junk Food Project Manchester” on Facebook or Twitter.

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