Here are answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions we get at TRJFP Brum.

What is Pay As You Feel?

ALL the food that TRJFP provides is Pay As You Feel, or PAYF for short.

That means you contribute however you can to the success of our project: donating your time, skills, money or something even more imaginative!

Although our food is donated, there are still costs – everything from washing up liquid, to petrol, to insurance, to making sure our volunteer staff are up to date with their food hygiene training etc; so we do need cash, but we also need hands-on help from our volunteers.

You can volunteer to help the project here. From cooking, to serving, cleaning, sorting, laundry, collecting, delivering, litter picking, gardening; there are a lot of ways you can help that don’t need to hurt your wallet!

We don’t mind how you PAYF. Everything we do has value and there is value in everything we do.

Shouldn’t the food feed the needy, or refugees, or the homeless or something?

We don’t just feed ‘homeless people’, ‘the needy’, nor do we just feed asylum seekers, refugees, or whoever.

We feed everyone.

In order for us to prove the value and safety of food waste, we couldn’t just feed specific demographics of people. We believe food waste is absolutely fit for human consumption and so that’s who we feed – human beings.

People have said in the past they would feel guilty receiving food from us; ‘I can afford to buy my own food’. But that isn’t what the project is about. We’re trying to save perfectly edible food from landfill or otherwise going to waste. There is a lot of waste built into our plentiful system, and that food has taken effort and resources to grow, produce and transport. If you eat some of our food, that’s great, we want to #feedbelliesnotbins!

If you can afford to pay cash for our food, that’s great too – please pay what you feel the food is worth. But if anyone can’t afford to pay for the food with cash, or doesn’t want to for whatever reason, that’s also absolutely fine; there are many other ways you can help us with your time and/or skills. You can volunteer to help the project here.

Do you get your food from supermarkets?

We receive from various sources. Yes, we get food donated by supermarkets, but also wholesalers, restaurants, caterers, allotments, schools, events and sometimes individuals!

If you’re a business and you think you could help us by donating your edible waste food, please contact us here.

If you get your food for free, why do I need to pay for it?

Although our food is donated, we still incur costs to distribute it, and if we didn’t cover those costs we wouldn’t be able to operate by law. Things like public liability insurance, food hygiene certificates etc.

Then there are unavoidable running costs – we sadly haven’t yet worked out a way to convert cauliflowers and cucumbers to petrol, washing up liquid, or utilities!

We don’t mind how you Pay As You Feel, with cash or time, but everyone who benefits from TRJFP is asked to contribute, and it is important that you do, in order for the project to continue.

Can you deliver a box to me/is there a cafe like yours near me/can you come set up in my town?

If you live outside of Birmingham/West Midlands, you’re welcome to come and collect a box from us, or visit one of our cafés or boutiques, but we have no plans to expand beyond the city.

Your best bet is to have a look at therealjunkfoodproject.org for similar projects near you.

Do you take/serve food past its expiration date?

All our Pay As You Feel cafés adhere to all Environmental Health regulations. This includes transporting food safely, storing it safely, cooking and re-heating it safely. Many of our kitchen staff are trained chefs with years of experience!

We intercept food that is past its expiration date or surplus to requirements and use our own judgement on whether we believe the food is fit for human consumption or not, by smelling it, tasting it and visually inspecting it. We do not turn food away simply because it has ‘expired’, but we will never serve food that we believe is unfit for human consumption.