Success for ‘food waste’ cafe in Leeds

Director Edd Colbert, 23, with some of the donated food at the 'pay as you feel' cafe in Armley.
Director Edd Colbert, 23, with some of the donated food at the 'pay as you feel' cafe in Armley.
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A trailblazing ‘pay as you feel’ cafe in Leeds - which uses the city’s food waste to feed its customers - has been going from strength to strength.

In November last year, the YEP reported Leeds chef Adam Smith’s plans to open a cafe which used unwanted food to cook for the masses - who then paid what they felt it was worth.

The cafe opened in December at The Hub, on Chapel Lane, Armley, initially as a kitchen in a community centre but now there are hopes to raise enough cash to buy the building.

Restaurants, supermarkets and local residents across the city have been getting behind the venture - with caviar, truffles, a kilo of smoked salmon among the unwanted food dropped off, alongside the more common potatoes, bread and broccoli.

By February this year the cafe - part of the wider ‘The Real Junk Food Project’ - had saved one tonne of food from going to waste,. Takings are also on the up, as well as bookings for catering events.

Adam has since been joined by a team of like-minded others, taking the number of directors to six - as well as an army of volunteers, with 50 signing up last week alone.

Edd Colbert, 23, one of the directors, is juggling the cafe with his degree in international development - specialising in the politics of food.

He said ‘pay as you feel’ is a means of bridging the barrier between producers and consumers.

“The response has been positive. You have someone who pays 50p for a sandwich, sitting next to someone who pays £10 or someone who can’t afford a bag of crisps in any other establishment and eats for free.”

He said they have been overwhelmed with support for their cafe. “People have got in touch from across the world, supporting us or wanting to set up cafes themselves.”

It’s a subject, he says, which unites everyone.

“It’s something I’ve campaigned against. It’s become central to my life. Waste of any kind - whether food or energy - is really an immoral situation to be in.

“It’s such an obviously thing. If someone saw me with a perfect broccoli, putting in the bin, they would be angry. Everyone is angry by food waste. It’s just common sense.”

For more information search ‘TRJFP ‘Pay As You Feel’ cafe at The HUB’ on Facebook.