Cancelling your Freegan Box

Hello, us again!

Two blog posts in two days. Aren’t you lucky!

Just wanted to let everyone know of the new procedure for cancelling your Freegan Box.

If you need to cancel your Freegan Box for any reason, be that temporarily or permanently, please either:

email

cancelmyfreeganbox@gmail.com

or text

0782 157 23 20

Giving us as much notice as possible.

Using just one text/email and no other channels will help us to keep better track of cancellations, saving fuel costs, and saving time for our wonderful volunteer delivery drivers.

For all other Freegan Box queries, please continue to use the freegan.boxes@gmail.com address.

Thank you so much!

 

Freegan Boxes

*****URGENT NOTICE*****
Please be aware, that due to currently overwhelming demand, we are placing new requests for Freegan Box deliveries onto a waiting list. Collection requests will still be processed as normal.

We’re really sorry to have to do this, but we’ve become a victim of our own success!! When we started this, we had a mere 20 boxes to distribute. On Friday 3rd of March, it was 287!! All our drivers are volunteers, and there simply aren’t enough of us to go around.

But don’t worry, we have plans afoot to help us cope with the demand – there’s more than enough waste food, if we can just get enough people to help us collect and distribute it!

If you could help us in any way, please think about signing up as a volunteer here.

Thank you for your patience
END OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

*********March 3rd 2017 Freegan Boxes

Fridays with TRJFP Brum

Friday’s one of our busiest days here at The Real Junk Food Project Brum. Not only do we have our regular Friday café at Ladywood Health and Community Centre, we also intercept the majority of our fresh fruit and vegetables from the wholesale market and run our ‘Freegan Box’ scheme.

Me and my fellow barrow boy, Sedge, get to the Birmingham wholesale market at about 7.30am, just as trade begins to wrap up for the day. If we’re lucky we have time for a bacon and egg butty in the on-site greasy spoon before we manoeuvre Victorian-style trolleys laden with fruit and vegetables back to the van. This week we intercepted 392.7kg of produce that was all scheduled for destruction. One of the highlights was the juicy watermelons that Earl from Caribbean Produce donated. Feed bellies, not bins!

Earl and I at Caribbean ProduceEarl and I at Caribbean Produce

No matter how early we get to the market we always seem to finish our round at 10:00am, by which time our chefs are ravenous to get their mitts on some of the produce for the Friday lunch service. So our second call is Ladywood Health and Community Centre.

Chef Vinnie handling the goodsChef Vinnie handling the goods

The remaining fruit and vegetables are sorted for our ‘Freegan Box’ scheme; our pop-up cafés around Birmingham; and any other events that we have been asked to cater for in the upcoming days.

'Freegan boxes'
Left: 25 ‘Freegan Boxes’ sorted and ready to go; Right: A box of goodies

Like all the food we do, the ‘Freegan Boxes’ work on a Pay-As-You-Feel basis. If you like what you see, just click to order your very own.

Once our chefs have been satiated and the food all sorted, it’s time for lunch at Ladywood. We also drop off some of the ‘Freegan Boxes’ at the café for those who want to collect their box. On the menu this week at our Ladywood café was garlic bruschetta to start, topped with courgette and tomato fresh from the market that morning. The main was meat medley stew, with a side of cabbage and new potatoes again from the market. The fruit that was incepted that morning was also made into a fruit salad for desert.

Much needed sustenanceMuch needed sustenance

Our destination after a post-lunch cup of tea is the greenhouses at Birmingham City Hospital to pay homage to their hot aerobic composters. Any food that we cannot use is composted there and used by community grow schemes around Birmingham so that none of the food that we intercept goes to waste.

We might get a couple of hours in the afternoon to put our feet up before we deliver the remaining ‘Freegan Boxes’. This week we had 12 deliveries on a 30-mile route around central and south Birmingham, providing fresh fruit and vegetables to families, refugees and hostels.
Marva receiving her 'Freegan Box'Marva receiving her ‘Freegan Box’

We finish around 8.30pm, by which time it is time for a pint with some of the other volunteers and for me to beat Sedge at pool.

Thomas Garnham is a volunteer with TRJFP Brum and coordinator of the ‘Freegan Box’ scheme. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham. He is also a gobbler of junk food.

The EU Food Challenge- Let’s food together!

I love food. A lot. I’ll be honest, it’s was my intial reason for getting involved with the Real Junk Food Project, I hate to see it thrown away, because I want to EAT it! Another great love of mine is travel. I’m lucky enough to have visited some beautiful places around the world, met some wonderful people, and obviously most importantly, eaten some marvellous food!

As Brexit started to sink in last week and the horrible backlash against foreigners living in the U.K began I realised that in some way, however piecemeal, the Real Junk Food Project should react to all this, and that our cafes should embrace europeans and european food as a gesture of unity.

So I’m very pleased to say, 2 weeks in, the Real Junk Food Project Brum EU challenge has been a bloody tasty experiment!

The wednesday before last saw Irene Raccanelli(our TRJFP ‘foreign exchange’ person from Turin) make some mouthwatering Stuffed Peppers for lunch, and last week saw our man Ned cooked a mean Saucy Hungarian Chicken dish, all using nothing but TRJFP waste food.

neds hungarian

And so, I beseech you all, stay tuned for the imminent release of our EU challenge recipes, and come in to our Ladywood Community Centre cafe on a wednesday to see which country we’ll be visiting next. There are 26 more weeks of deliciousness to go and we’ll culminate in some bangin’ British food(assuming we haven’t left the EU by then!!). Check out Facebook for news of the next one. If I haven’t eaten it all already, that is.

Happy Summer everyone!

The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham- A Blog

A big thankyou to all you patient people who have subscribed and waited for The Real Junk Food Project blog! We hope to unpack for you the bizarro world of food waste as well as give a window into one of Birmingham’s most eclectic volunteering experiences, with a whole host of blog contributors as well as my occasional bits too.

Let me give you a few snapshots of what we do, in this case the various doings of the project across the last week. Last Friday was a pretty exciting and frenetic day for Junk Food Brum, with the reintroduction of our FREEGAN BOXES, our monthly NAKED LUNGS bbq, bands and bards event and our weekly two cafe services at LADYWOOD COMMUNITY CENTRE.
This meant our tireless volunteers Sedge and Thomas not only intercepting a tonne of fruit and veg from Birmingham’s cavernous Wholesale markets, but also reorganising it beautifully into individual boxes to take to addresses across Brum*.

This meant our Bob, Vinny and Liz cooking up a storm in the Ladywood Community Centre kitchen for lunchgoers and ravenous afterschool kids. This also meant Zoe, Judy, Steve and a whole host of others manning the bbq tongs and order pads in the lush setting of Digbeth Community Garden whilst saxophones squeals and poets did their thing.

This meant that 92 people were fed with food that would have been thrown away. This meant 10 people got to volunteer their time with us.

dig comm garden

This also meant that we all got to have a bloody good time!

And so, there you have a picture of a Junk Food Brum day. I know every day I spend with this project I count myself lucky. Oh and, crucially, full up!

*get one, they’re Pay-As-You-Feel, follow http://goo.gl/forms/vcQOQhizCbFLujRl2 to order yours!

Where were we last weekend?

What were the Real Junk Food Project Brum team doing last saturday? SOUNDkitchen BannerWe were catering for the final 2015 SOUNDkitchen SONIC picnic of course! The SONICpicnic is one of Birmingham’s only dedicated showcases for experimental electronic music, and for their last event of the year they decided to book us, one of Birmingham’s only dedicated showcases for experimental waste food, to provide the buffet. An array of delicious salads and dips were concocted by the team, and all displayed in the haunting blue glow of the lights at Vivid Projects, the food was lent the drama it deserves! The event itself showcased some fantastic sonic collages. Artists included Manfredi Clemente, Iris Garrelfs and Justin Wiggan who recovers ‘dead vinyl’ and plays it, improvising around the harsh, primal sounds it creates. Thanks for having us and our blue food SOUNDkitchen! And readers, keep your ears to the ground for their next event in early 2016.

Ben Coverting Food
Co-director Ben coveting foodstuffs

A Grand Day Out Gleaning

This week TRJFP Brum went on an adventure to the countryside! Joining forces with Feedback, we provided a delicious lunch for all of the lovely volunteers, as well as pitching in with the gleaning ourselves.

What is gleaning, I hear you ask?

Gleaning is the age-old practice of harvesting leftover crops. The UK Gleaning Network was founded in 2012 by Feedback, the organisation founded by Tristram Stuart to campaign for an end to food waste. It’s estimated that 30-40% of fruit and vegetables in the UK don’t even leave the farm, mostly due to cosmetic standards imposed by supermarkets. So many crops are left on the tree or ploughed back into the field because it’s just not economically worthwhile for the farmers to harvest them.

12309929_1694401360805000_1220542884444540996_oTis the season for ripe, juicy apples

It was great to see so many people giving their time to rescue a beautiful crop of Braeburn apples that had been rejected due to being “too green”. A team of about 30 people worked hard, despite the rain and the cold, and managed to pick around 4 tonnes of delicious, crisp apples to be redistributed.

12232943_1694401260805010_3147451316582557745_o

The experience of eating an apple that you’ve just picked is amazing – the taste is so much richer than any fruit you can buy in the supermarket. Yet so many people have never had this experience, and perhaps wouldn’t even think that there is any difference. We’re so conditioned by supermarket standards to think only about how our fruit and veg look, and until you have that experience of truly fresh produce, how can you realise what you’re missing out on? I think a part of our mission should be to share this with as many people as possible, by growing food in the city, and using and sharing all that we grow.

12309584_1694401454138324_445632761523564782_o (1)Meeting our buddies from Bristol!

We weren’t the only representatives of The Real Junk Food Project out gleaning! We were really glad to have the opportunity to catch up with some lovely folks from The Bristol Skipchen. Part of their team are currently on their way to Lesbos to set up a solidarity café feeding refugees travelling to Europe. Check out this summary and head over to their fundraising page to support them if you’re able to.