Junk food project teams up with Wakefield Cathedral to battle food wastage

Davood Tajashan, Ea Nielsen and Richard Hawksworth at Wakefield Cathedral Kitchen.
Davood Tajashan, Ea Nielsen and Richard Hawksworth at Wakefield Cathedral Kitchen.

Wakefield Cathedral Kitchen’s team already go to huge lengths to support what is perhaps the city’s most important landmark.

And through a new partnership to help reduce waste and alleviate food poverty, they are going the extra mile to make an even greater difference to the city.

For Ea Nielsen, who has been at the helm of the social enterprise cafe for more than two years, turning seasonal produce into a healthy and nutritious menu that raises money for the historic cathedral, is all in a day’s work.

She and her team are no strangers to creating and serving a changing daily offering of home-cooked meals and cakes – and they’re now doing it with food that was destined for the bin.

“Everything is made from scratch and we are now using food that would have gone in an incinerator otherwise,” catering manager Ea says. “We use it to cook lovely, affordable dishes.”

The cafe, run by the cathedral, has teamed up with The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP), an initiative based in the city that intercepts perfectly edible food set for waste from restaurants, supermarkets and independent retailers and distributes it to pay as you feel cafes, schools and community groups.

Its motto is #FeedBelliesNotBins.

Last week, the Cathedral Kitchen received its first delivery from the Kindness Warehouse, Wakefield’s first pay as you feel supermarket and the headquarters of TRJFP.

It will now get a weekly supply of eight crates of food that, although may have passed its best before date or been declared surplus, is still safe to eat.

And every three months, it will host an Eat Up Stand Up event, providing a pay as you feel meal for attendees, as well as speakers, music and children’s activities, based around a particular theme.

The topic for the first will be food waste and in December the theme is homelessness.

It is hoped the new scheme will not only reduce food waste, and cut overhead costs for the cafe, but raise awareness of issues like food poverty and how to alleviate it across the city. The first Eat Up Stand Up session takes place at the at 6.30pm on Monday, September 9.