The acclaimed Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP, www.trjfp.com) are winding down their ‘Kindness Warehouse’ in Stourton this weekend (30-31 October 2021) – but will continue their work across the region, and aim to reopen further local venues soon.
TRJFP first started in Leeds in 2013, led by Hunslet lad Adam Smith. With the mantra ‘Feed Bellies, Not Bins’, they set out to help tackle the huge issue of food waste, by diverting good quality but unwanted food into communities. They have since spawned over 100 spin-off schemes – some also called the Real Junk Food Project, others not – across the UK and beyond. Together, they have ‘intercepted’ thousands of tonnes of food, and redirected it to hundreds of thousands of people. They work on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis, with ‘customers’ typically paying whatever they felt was reasonable.
Last year (2020) saw them take on a 12,000 square foot warehouse at the former Copperworks site in Stourton, which became dubbed the Kindness Warehouse – and was the centre of their busy regional operation running through much of the Covid-19 pandemic. They turned around about 100 tonnes of surplus food per month, with the support of scores of volunteers – and also created a pop-up edible community garden.
In a public statement this weekend, they said:
“We’ve had 15 incredible months at the #Kindness warehouse in Stourton, through some of the most challenging times of our lives. We took a space that was derelict and forgotten – and with the hard work of the dedicated staff and volunteers, we showed the place some love and kindness, and placed it on the map! This isn’t the end, but now is the time to recoup, build a new identity in a new space and prepare to continue radically changing the face of food waste!”
Their project continues, with further details via their website and on social media. Other separate ‘junk food’ schemes are also active locally – for instance, the Food Revival scheme, which sees boxes delivered into Beeston Hill for local residents to collect each week (for full info and to sign up, click here).
The national WRAP (Waste Resources Action Programme) campaign body estimates that 1.9 million tons of food is wasted within the UK food industry every year; for more info on WRAP, and food waste across the UK, and what we can all do, visit www.wrap.org.uk.