Waste not want not as Portsmouth cafe cooks with leftover produce

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A POP-UP cafe gave visitors a chance to experience meals made from surplus food from shops.

The Real Junk Food Project at The Lodge Arts Centre in Victoria Park, Portsmouth was the idea of Paula Lawes.

Paula is the founder of Homecooked Love, a Fareham project that feeds needy families, and said: ‘I decided to hold this night and start up the project as there’s so much waste from businesses and lots of food being chucked away.

‘I thought there was something better to do with it than just getting rid of it.’

The event was attended by people from a variety of social backgrounds looking for a home-cooked meal.

‘It was good as it was the first one that we have held,’ said Paula. ‘I was pleased.

‘We had families there, students, couples and homeless people, so it was a real mixture.’

Once diners had eaten their meal they were allowed to pay using money, time or skills.

‘People pay as they feel and what they think the food is worth,’ said Paula.

‘We had local artist Devin-Jade performing on the night, which is how she paid for her food.’

All the food for the event came from local shops that were about to throw excess produce away.

Paula, who lives in Fareham, said: ‘At the moment, we’re unable to get supermarkets involved but we have had many donations from shops in the area.’

On the night, Paula and her team cooked vegetable curry and vegetable pasta stew.

‘The people that came loved the food and the evening as it is something new and different. It was good to see people come and be supportive towards what we are trying to do,’ added Paula.

Another pop-up cafe has been planned for Tuesday, April 21 at The Art Lodge from 6.30pm.

Paula said: ‘People are struggling at the moment and need a bit more money and by doing more of these we hope to build community spirit.’

To find out more about the event go to facebook.com/HomecookedLOVE