Help Racheal set up waste food project

Volunteers Hannah Stone and Ann Shelley cook at the cafe in Armley.
Volunteers Hannah Stone and Ann Shelley cook at the cafe in Armley.

Castleford could have its own pay-as-you-feel diner where meals are prepared using food which would usually go to waste.

Baker Racheal Gartside has been inspired to set up a Real Junk Food Project in the town after being impressed by the “common sense” approach of its Armley branch in Leeds.

Surplus food is donated by various sources and is only cooked by the chef after being safety tested using taste, smell and feeling – and punters pay what they think the meal is worth.

After running a trial at Featherstone Methodist Church, Racheal is appealing for a permanent space with just “electricity, a toilet and roof” to set up.

She said: “I found out about what they were doing in Armley when I visited and volunteered some of my time to it. I feel like there’s more of them needed. It doesn’t just reduce waste food – which is a disgusting amount of waste compared to how many people go unnourished. When you walk in everybody is equal. You get a real sense of community.

“There was a homeless man sat next to a well-to-do looking lady with her toddler. It’s for everyone and it’s unbelievable how simple it is.

“I spoke to the manager and ate there as well. The food is normal food that we would buy, it’s still good food but surplus.”

Mum-of-two Racheal has so far got traders at Castleford Market and Nandos on board to provide waste food.

She believes that the project could help those who also need to use food banks in the area. Figures released in April by food bank provider the Trussell Trust showed that 1,605 people in Pontefract and 1,602 people in Knottingley needed emergency food packs in the last financial year.

Racheal said that the Real Junk Food Project is about “feeding bellies, not bins.”

If you know of a space where she can set up, ring her on 07891293543.