For the last two years, Alice and her colleague have been coming along to the Ladywood Community Centre to help with cooking food in the kitchen for the Real Junk Food Project Birmingham café there. Through her work with the charity, Active Well-Being Society, she came to discover the Real Junk Food Project Birmingham and now regularly takes along food to the Active Street events she helps to organise.
Active Streets provide community events to the streets around Birmingham. This involves the closure of the road to traffic and the organisation of events for the residents with the aim of increasing well-being and drawing people together.
The Active Well-Being Society also run Active Parks, which provides free fitness and well-being activity classes and events in parks around Birmingham for the residents.
Alice says she has a general awareness of the food waste issues in the food industry. The issue centres around the discard of huge volumes of perfectly edible food that has simply expired its best before date by supermarkets and the food industry in general. Since volunteering with TRJFPBrum, however, she is now a lot more passionate about this topic and knowledgeable on the facts.
Alice says she loves volunteering at the Ladywood Community Centre kitchen as she gets to interact with a mixture of people from a variety of backgrounds. She has also learned new skills such as preparing and cooking food for the public to food safety standards.
We want to thank Alice for her regular volunteering commitment to our project and the time she took to speak with us. It’s great to connect with other organisations in Birmingham who are providing such a worthwhile service to the community.
The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham would like to say a huge THANK YOU to
in Solihull for partnering with us and supporting our Hobs Moat Community Café and Food Boutique, which we launched in May.
Our dedicated volunteers collect items that Waitrose can no longer sell, and deliver them to our Hobs Moat community café. Anything that can’t be used by the kitchen goes to the boutique for
customers to take home, or to our Sharehouse in Winson Green. In this way nothing is wasted as TRJFPBrum’s motto is #feedbelliesnotbins!
Anyone is welcome to eat or shop with us, we just ask for a donation of cash, time, or skills on a Pay-As-You-Feel (PAYF) basis. This makes for a fantastic welcoming environment, breaking down barriers for all members of the Hobs Moat community to attend and get involved.
The Hobs Moat Café and Food Boutique run weekly every Thursday 12pm-2pm at St Mary’s church hall. You can download and print off posters and fliers here:
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.
Tis 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.
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.
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.
One of the best April fools jokes ever was played by the BBC when they reported on the growing of “spaghetti bushes”, showing bushes covered in spaghetti that was said to be drying in the sun after harvesting. Considering this was 1957, people could be forgiven for being taken in by this. However, it seems that there are still worrying gaps in knowledge about food and its origins.
Just over two years ago the British Nutrition Foundation carried out a survey amongst 27,500 five-to-16-year-olds to find out how much they knew about food and where it comes from. There was some confusion about the source of pasta among younger pupils, with about a third of five-to-eight-year-olds believing that pasta is made from meat (or did they mean wheat!? So, we thought we would do our bit to clarify this.
The aim of The Real Junk Food Project is primarily to use food destined for the bin to feed people on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis. However, we also feel that it is important to help people to help them
selves; to help them use the food and ingredients they have at home in a more sustainable way so that less food is wasted. To this end, two pasta making workshops have been delivered at Ladywood Community and Health Centre over the past few months. The first of these was attended by Ladywood residents with both adults and children alike taking part, the second one in September was attended by adults from further afield to learn more about this lovely Italian carbohydrate.
In line with the aims of the project we used eggs donated by the time Union and pasta flour that was close to its use by date and destined for the bin. So, effectively we made some healthy pasta from waste food. We even used leftover beetroot and herbs to flavour it.
The results were amazing! In addition to taking some tasty food home, the main benefits according to our attendees included the therapy gained from kneading the dough, not to mention the gym membership fees saved (pasta dough is quite stiff, very good for working those biceps). The opportunity to get together with others to share the experience of being creative and learning new skills should not be under estimated either. All this and free aromatherapy from the mix of parsley, chives and tarragon. Look, a tagliatelle tree! We have plans to run more food waste workshops soon, watch this space!