“Would you like to join me for lunch” asked Pete (AKA the Mayor of Brighton & Hove). Well you can hardly say no, so off I went to meet Pete at One Church for lunch at The Real Junk Food Project. Over the last few years I have been, in my role in the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival, an active supporter of Fareshare, an organisation that redistributes food that is rejected by supermarkets. The Real Junk Food Project does much the same but takes this dreadful waste of perfectly good food directly from retailers and cooks and serves amazing meals. Of course there are projects that exist to feed the homeless or groups in society with differing needs, but this project is slightly different as it welcomes one and all on a pay as you feel basis.
At One Church I was amazed to see the broad spectrum of diners, students, office workers, travellers, homeless… all tucking into an amazing spread of delicious food.
There was a very hearty looking pea soup, but I passed that in favour of a lentil and aubergine stew which came with rice. I then had some side dishes of roast potatoes and celeriac, carrot salad, stuffed pepper and a great salad of fennel and orange. All delicious and as good as I might expect to find in the very best cafe’s and restaurants. I also had a tomato bread roll which was superb. After I had a plate of very exotic fruit salad and tasted a very nice ginger cake that had been made in their kitchen, no doubt fro rescued eggs and flour and butter. It was without doubt great food and so was the coffee that came from the One Church Barista training project, another brilliant initiative.
I was amazed to see the broad spectrum of diners
The project is staffed by volunteers with only two paid members of the team and obviously depends massively on the kindness of people who avail themselves of the food. But should we see it as kindness, I think not, this is a great way to dine and for the privilege should you go, and I urge you to do so, then you should pay a fair price for their fare.
I had such a good time, chatting with the director Adam Buckingham, and with the Mayor and the very lovely Juliet Smith JP DL and High Sheriff of East Sussex, I move in very high circles it would seem, but this whole experience was a great leveller and eye-opener.
The Real Junk Food Project Brighton can be found serving wholesome ‘Pay As You Feel’ meals at the following venues:
St. Luke’s Church, 64 Old Shoreham Road, Brighton, BN1 5DD
Lunch: Monday-Wednesday, from 12pm
The Hollingbean, Hollingdean Community Centre, Thompson Road, Brighton, BN1 7BH Lunch: Thursdays, from 1pm
One Church, 21 Gloucester Place, Brighton, BN1 4AA Lunch: Fridays, from 12pm
firstname.lastname@example.org, 07925 611 297