Our cafe with a difference uses trash food

Left-over supermarket food ready to be used at the Trash Cafe
Left-over supermarket food ready to be used at the Trash Cafe

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Our columnist, Rev Tim Watson, pioneer minister at Leesland, reveals all about the church’s new Trash Cafe.

EVERY Tuesday teatime we host a Trash Café at St Faith’s Church in Gosport.

We serve freshly-cooked meals to about 50 regular customers.

What makes our café different to others in Gosport is that we use food considered by supermarkets as out-of-date, or no longer required.

We also ask customers to pay just what they think they can afford.

During the week, our manager Chloe Palmer travels around local supermarkets and collects food and other items that are past their use-by date, damaged, or just not needed.

It is food that would otherwise be thrown away.

Perhaps it is bread or cakes that are out of date, but still usable, a range of tea bags that has been replaced, or some seasonal food they don’t want to display any more.

So each week, I set up chairs and tables, while Mat Walker, a volunteer from St Faith’s Church, prepares the kitchen.

Chloe arrives with a car full of food, and Mat and Chloe start cooking.

Other volunteers pop in and out to help. In the past few weeks, we’ve had stone-baked sourdough pizzas, home-made grapefruit marmalade and a winter-spiced vegetable soup.

We also set up a shopping boutique of food and assorted items before we open up between 4pm and 7pm.

Some do much of their week’s shopping with us, others come to be cooked a meal.

Some come as a lifestyle choice, not wanting to see good food go to waste.

Some pay us by helping out, because money is tight.

The Trash Café is part of a social enterprise that Chloe has set up – the Real Junk Food Project South Coast.

And we are delighted to partner with her at St Faith’s.

It’s a place for people to socialise. It’s a place to eat healthy food that doesn’t break the bank, and it’s a great way to stop food being wasted.

It’s a privilege to be involved, and we are beginning to see some great interaction with the local community.

Regular volunteers and customers have recently worked together to tidy up the overgrown grounds of the church. Come along and see what you think.

Go to trashcafe.com.