With my daughter at her gymnastics club all day and me with a weekly bus ticket, I decided to investigate The Real Junk Food Project Kindness Warehouse in Wakefield. Having got some interesting food from the Fuel for Schools Project run by the same charity when my daughter was at primary school, I was intrigued to see if I would have the same experience at their warehouse.
In case anyone has missed previous posts on the subject of TRJFP, this is an organisation that collects food being thrown out by food stores and sells them on a pay-as-you-feel basis either in one of their cafes (where they make up meals), at the warehouse or in schools (as mentioned above). The idea is to save it from going to waste and feed people who may otherwise go hungry.
So, this morning off I set with a sturdy jute bag in one hand and my crochet in the other. The buses worked out well and in a little under an hour I was at the right bus stop to walk the five minutes to the warehouse. Except that I misread my map and ended up walking for a good half an hour more than I needed. Thankfully, when I eventually decided to phone TRJFP to get directions, my journey once more became a breeze.
Feeling a little hot and thirsty by this point, I was hopeful of finding something to drink but sadly there only appeared to be unlabelled bottles of something that looked like urine. Probably apple juice but I decided I wasn’t that thirsty after all.
The next disappointment was that there were shelves and shelves of bread. I had heard from Mark Warner, who runs Plate to Plate Compost, a company that collects food waste in Leeds and then sells it as, well, compost, that much of the food wasted is, in fact, bread. So it should come as no surprise that I was confronted with such an array of the stuff at the Kindness Warehouse.
Fortunately, there were also a few fruit and veg, so I took as much as I thought we would use in the next couple of days. And then as I was about to leave in came some food which made up for the unintended walk and original disappointment: sausages.
I’m really pleased that the warehouse was not full to the brim with all manner of foodstuff, as it suggests the waste stream is being managed more effectively than perhaps once was. Certainly, I have noticed that food in the reduced aisles at supermarkets goes quickly and in some outlets there doesn’t appear to be as much as there used to.
But will I be visiting the Kindness Warehouse again? Yes, as the food there does need to be eaten if possible. And now I know where exactly it is, I won’t be so hot and bothered when I arrive. I’ll also take my water bottle with me.
However, much as it is a shame that so much bread will possibly end up in landfill, I won’t be filling my bag with that. Apart from my preference for bread of the home-made variety, there ought to be a more efficient process for avoiding such waste across the country – buying it stale is only dealing with part of the problem.