The world produces enough food to feed everyone. Yet 870 million people (1 in 8 of the world population) are suffering from chronic undernourishment. Food poverty is not purely an overseas problem – it affects many in the UK. There will be people, families, in Shipley now who are missing meals.
At the same time, around one third of the food produced in the world fit for human consumption – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – gets lost or wasted. Individually and corporately we need to act urgently on Jesus’ instruction “let nothing be wasted.”
The importance of reducing food waste is becoming a political issue. Waste and stewardship are issues Christians should be leading on.
Time and again in the Bible and in particular in the New Testament we see that discussions take place and faith is shared over food. Through the project we are not simply looking at a one-dimensional “helping the poor” but seeking gradually to develop spaces borne out of faith, taking account of principles of stewardship and compassion.
What will the Project be doing?
There are three things we hope to develop.
A cafe. In itself this is nothing unusual. However, there are two parts that are.
First that food used and prepared at the café would otherwise be thrown away. You might call it waste food. That doesn’t mean it’s not fit to be eaten. It is simply that the way the food industry works means that food not used within an artificially created “Best Before” date gets sent to landfill. This food is to be intercepted and used. This food will be obtained from local food outlets (including superstores). The cost of the raw materials for the cafe will therefore be £0, or very nearly so.
Second, the food at the café is available on a “pay as you feel” basis. If you want to make a donation for the food then you are welcome to do so, but there is absolutely no obligation or pressure to do so.
This has been successfully developed recently at a café in Armley, Leeds. That café has developed as the brainchild of Adam Smith who is now encouraging others to develop similar cafes on similar lines. More about him and The Real Junk Food Project another time.
We are developing the pay as you feel café first and hope to start it going in early July
A food bank. Whilst there is a food bank in central Bradford, following discussions with a number of interested parties it is clear that there is current need for a food bank in Shipley. The proposal is to work with the Trussel Trust in establishing this.
Food skills. Lack of confidence with food is a very real issue for many. Basic food skills are sadly not part of formal education nor are the skills available in a family to be passed down to the next generation as would have happened in the past. This loss of confidence as to what can be done with raw materials is that an “easier” option is to purchase less healthy and more costly pre-packaged food.
Can I help?
Yes, absolutely! The project will rely on people donating their time. If you are interested in becoming involved either now or in future or if you’d like to be kept informed about what the project is doing then drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first step will be to run the café on Friday lunchtimes from midday until 2pm so we will need volunteers to run this. If we get enough support we hope to start this in early July. Our initial home for the café will be at the Salvation Army community hall on Rhodes Place, Shipley BD17 7DL. We need people who are happy in a kitchen preparing food, people who will be able to serve food and people who are willing simply to be there and if need be listen and talk to those who come along.
If you think you are one of those do let us know!