Environment in association with the Mirror

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) prevents perfectly edible food from going to landfill by turning it into healthy nutritious meals for the community.

We intercept food from various sources including farms, restaurants, households, factories and supermarkets and serve it in our ‘Pay as you Feel’ (PAYF) cafes, where the community comes together, enjoys delicious food and learns about the importance of not wasting food. We operate five days a week and also host a food boutique, where people can ‘shop’ for surplus food on a PAYF basis.

PAYF creates an inclusive space and empowers people to give their time, energy, skills – or simply monetary donations in return for a healthy and nutritious meal. PAYF values the individual and provides an equal platform that is free of the stigma surrounding charitable handouts. We encourage people to think about what a plate of food means to them - the time and energy that has gone into creating it and the fact that the food would have been needlessly wasted.

We have also recently introduced the Fuel for Schools initiative, which is responding to food poverty and aims to prevent hunger from being a barrier to learning. We provide surplus food to local schools but we are also educating future generations about food, nutrition and the issue of food waste. We have already had a hugely positive response from schools across Brighton.

The project addresses environmental, social and socio-economic issues. We are helping lower carbon emissions because food is not rotting at landfill releasing harmful methane gas into the atmosphere. By feeding people we are alleviating food poverty and taking pressure off of food banks. Providing access to healthy nutritious meals for the community also means families are less reliant on cheap, unhealthy foods.

TRJFP is a collaborative project that is run by volunteers. Community spirit is at the heart of what we do. Everyone is welcome, but we have seen isolated and vulnerable members of the community become empowered due to the value the project places in them.

If we win the Aviva grant, we will use the funding to invest in our new food waste ‘hub’ facility in Bevendean. From here, all intercepted food will be delivered, weighed, sorted and then redistributed to our cafes and schools.

To carry out our vision we need investment to help with:

- The running costs of the building (rent and utilities)
- Materials to develop and decorate
- New flooring
- The cost of a plumber
- A sink
- Work-surfaces
- Industrial shelving units
- Lighting

Having the Food waste hub will allow us to take on more major supermarkets, preventing more food from going to waste. We will open our doors to the community, giving them access to the plethora of food we intercept at our 'Pay As You Feel' supermarket, whilst raising awareness about food waste at the same time.

Since our first event in November 2014 we have intercepted 65 tonnes of food from being wasted and fed over 21,000 people. To give you an idea of our rapid growth, the stats quoted in the video are from only a year ago, just imagine what we could be achieving this time next year with your help. There’s so much more for us to do, so please give us your vote.

Project Video

The Real Junk Food Project Brighton C.I.C

Moment of Pride

I am proud of this project because I see it as the solution to the global food waste scandal. By educating future generations and feeding people rather than bins I believe we, as an organisation will put ourselves out of business and tackle the criminal amounts of food waste across the globe.

Location: Brighton