Started: December 2013
Based: Leeds
Twitter: @realjunkfood
Categories: Food, Environment

The Real Junk Food Project provides meals made from waste food diverted from landfill at the Pay As You Feel (PAYF) Café in Leeds.

Customers at the café pay how much they think their meal is worth and those that can’t afford to buy meals from the cafe can volunteer their services to earn meals.

The idea came from Yorkshire chef Adam Smith who became preoccupied with the growing problem of wasted food after spending a year working on farms in Australia.

The volunteers who work at the PAYF café go out and gather unwanted food from shops and restaurants and then whip up meals from what their collections. The menu changes daily depending on the food gathered that day.

Since the café opened it has intercepted over five tonnes of food and fed more than 4,000 people. All eight directors currently work 10-12 hour day shifts on a voluntary basis and take no money from the company.

The idea has now been replicated by 23 other groups around the UK and the original café is starting to take on bigger catering projects for festivals and other charity clients. Plans are now in place to open PAYF cafes all around the world.