Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Saltaire Canteen opened at the end of November, in premises on the corner of Victoria Road and Caroline Street formerly occupied by Vicar's Café. The area's first 'pay as you feel' café, it has been developed by the Shipley Food Project, a faith-based organisation that aims to reduce food waste and poverty through social action and education. It is the brainchild of Duncan Milwain and is solidly supported by my own church, St Peter's, Shipley, along with other sponsors. The café itself is inspired by the 'Real Junk Food' café in Armley, Leeds.
Paid staff and a team of volunteers create and serve appetising and nutritious menus using food that would usually be thrown away: that is, food approaching its use by/sell by date or that has been rejected by supermarkets but that is perfectly fit to eat. The food is donated by local market traders and other food producers and would otherwise have been sent to landfill.
There is no price list. Customers are given an envelope and are asked to pay, anonymously, whatever they feel their meal is worth or whatever they can afford (which may be nothing). They can also pay for their food by volunteering some time at the café. The idea is not only to combat the shocking amount of food that is currently wasted (15 million tonnes a year in the UK alone and a third of food production globally) but also to offer help, without judgment, to people who may be struggling financially. All are welcome; it's a warm and friendly place with a real community feel and the reviews so far are excellent.
Follow them on Facebook. Better still, call in for a meal if you're local. Opening hours are Monday and Friday 9.30 - 15.30 and Saturday 10.30 - 16.30.