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Originally published October 10 2015

Real Junk Food Project is putting an end to food waste while providing affordable meals at no charge

by Daniel Barker

(NaturalNews) An enterprising ex-chef from Great Britain has come up with a novel way to tackle the problem of food waste while providing the public with healthy, delicious meals at little or no cost.

Two years ago, Adam Smith opened his first cafe dedicated to using perfectly good food that would have otherwise been thrown in the trash because it was nearing its expiration date. The project was a success, and now the Real Junk Food Project (RJFP) has expanded to include around 120 affiliated cafes around the world.

Adam Smith had a mission: "From day one I set out to feed the world and I intend to do that."

Smith recognized the fact that massive amounts of food are discarded every day because of laws that forbid its sale after its "use-by" date.

A shocking one third of all food produced is lost or thrown away — that adds up to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year, according to UN estimates. Since the project's inception in 2013, it has managed to recover an estimated 200 tonnes of food destined for the trash bin.

RJFP prevents food waste, feeds the hungry

The novel system Smith created manages to sidestep the rules that prohibit the sale of food after its expiration date. Real Junk Food Project cafes offer their meals on a "pay-as-you-feel" basis.

In other words, customers pay what they feel the meal is worth — if a person can't afford to pay, the meal is free. Smith does not consider his project to be a means of feeding the poor, but it does create the added benefit of making food available to those who have no money.

For instance, "Elsie's" cafe, which is located in Northampton and is part of the RJFP network, welcomes both paying clients and those who are in need. Elsie's has around 90 volunteers and guest chefs who manage to create tasty and healthy meals out of whatever food they can salvage.

Sheena Cooper, who runs Elsie's, says:

"We want to create a mixed society within the cafe. Some people come in for coffee and cake and give a few pounds. But there are people who cannot give anything."

The challenge of working with the random array of food which the cafe salvages is "part of the joy" for the volunteers. Of course, the volunteers are careful to make sure that the food they serve is fresh enough: "We make our own judgement, by tasting and smelling, as to whether food is fit for consumption."

Gourmet dumpster diving

Judging from what's on the menu, it sounds as if the volunteers are managing to make the best of the situation. According to

"At Elsie's 'binner' event this month, a guest chef transformed discarded local produce into a three-course feast of gourmet crostini with pear salsa, sausage plait with polenta cake, and a chocolate fig dessert."

It turns out that most people are shocked by the amount of food that gets wasted on a daily basis. One third of those questioned in an informal market research poll conducted by RJFP reported being "physically pained" when forced to throw food away.

Earlier this year, Health Ranger Mike Adams also unveiled the Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box system, an equally novel, breakthrough technology that lessens food waste by allowing people to grow their own food at home.

As food waste awareness continues to gain momentum all over the world, more and more people are beginning to see the value of innovations such as the Grow Box system and RJFP. Smith, in fact, recently served salvaged meals to a group of British parliament members in an awareness-raising event. "People are beginning to realise we are a serious organisation," he said.

There are now RJFP cafes in Britain, the United States, Australia, France, South Korea and Nigeria.

To learn more about the project and how to support it, visit the RJFP Facebook page.

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