The Real Junk Food Project caters wedding entirely from food destined for the bin

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian
Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian
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Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding.

-> Leeds newly-weds feed wedding guests with food destined for landfill
The couple, aged 34 and 35 respectively, celebrated their wedding on Saturday (August 10th) with 280 guests.

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

To cater for the wedding at Victoria Hall in Saltaire, The Real Junk Food Project - based in Wakefield - provided over 250kg of edible food which was saved from being wasted or put to landfill.

Set up by Adam Smith in 2013, The Real Junk Food Project is a collaborative effort to bring about a radical change in the food system.

Perfectly edible food that would otherwise not make it to plate is intercepted across a 5000 sq mile area of West Yorkshire and made available to all on a Pay As You Feel basis.

Everything is processed and quality controlled at the Sharehouse by volunteers before being distributed for individuals, cafes, Freegan Boxes, event catering, schools and community groups to 'feed bellies not bins'.

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Since the project began in 2013, it has inspired over 120 projects globally at its peak, with Wakefield as the project HQ.

Kayley explained how the couple were keen advocates for the project from the start.

She said: “We are environmentalists at heart and try to avoid waste wherever possible, recycling everything we possibly can.

"We visited a TRJFP pay as you feel café in Saltaire and sampled the food in Trinity Kitchen in Leeds and loved it.

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

"Before even booking our wedding, we had discussed TRJFP being involved in the catering on the day.

"We were really pleased when we received a reply from Adam Smith, the founder. His enthusiasm and response was fantastic.”

Guests only knew the origin of their meal once they’ve started to eat it, with a big reveal from the bride and groom and The Real Junk Food Project’s founder Adam.

The guests were served a range of canapés and a barbeque ranging from ox, duck and chicken.

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Vegan, gluten free and vegetarian diners were also catered for.

In less than a year of being operational, the Wakefield Sharehouse had saved over 100 tonnes of food from being wasted by working with multiple retail partners including supermarkets.

Zelig, TRJFP’s catering service, started in 2018 - using food that would have otherwise been wasted for events.

A catering chameleon, it caters with food waste that blends to it’s surroundings, to be seen for the worthy resource it is rather than the bin contents it could have been.

This was the first wedding reception it has attempted and the largest event yet.

Speaking before the event, founder Adam Smith said he was excited for what it could mean for the project.

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Newly-wed environmentalist couple Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilston used food destined for the bin to instead cater for their entire wedding. cc Guzelian Ltd Asadour Guzelian

Adam said: “Catering for a wedding with surplus food epitomises the atrocity of the environment issues facing us all.

"TRJFP will provide food for 280 guests, showcasing our talents, the quality and range of food, and the scandal of what is needlessly wasted.

"We are very proud and honoured that Kayley & Joe have invited us to cater for their big day, and even more excited to see their guests reaction at the big reveal, after they’ve consumed surplus food.”