Day 13: Live below the poverty line – £1 a day

  • Breakfast: none – up too late and need to get on the road 
  • Lunch: Skipchen meal 
  • Dinner: skeleton soup

9am and I’m off to visit my friends Sian and Alex in Bristol, we’re going to lunch in a place called Skipchen. Skipchen is part of The Real Junk Food Project, it’s a cafe which purely serves food past its sell-by date intercepted from supermarket and restaurant skips.

Skipchen is staffed by volunteers and aims to highlight the amount of edible food thrown away.

The cafe operates on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis and as my friends and I walk inside the modest entrance there are free porridge sachets, toothpaste, oranges and bread on the table for diners to take away.

The pay as you feel policy means Skipchen’s clientele are an incredibly broad church. In one corner there are some folk with dreads and tie-dye clutching guitars and on another table there is a lady in a fur hat eating blueberries as a big issue seller weaves around collecting pastries. My friends and I sit down to enjoy some of the table nibbles with a homeless guy called Robbie, who it turns out knows a lot about the cheese we are eating, its process and origins! An older lady eating alone comes over to join us and opines loudly to us all on the merits of corn beef. It’s an eclectic company but a very merry one. 

The tables are a smorgasbord of delight and delectation from pies to brie to guacamole and carrots. Visually it is shocking to think this feast would have never been eaten but for Skipchen.

Skipchen accepts that it is not legal to scavenge from supermarket skips but argue that it is the right thing to do. “If edible food is going in the bin that’s wrong. We have cases of malnutrition rising in the UK. This isn’t something happening over in Africa. People here are struggling to feed themselves nutritiously. The real crime is the supermarkets throwing that edible food in the bin. That’s what we need to change.” – The Guardian.

I managed to track down Sam Joseph, co-director of the project. Sam and friends have been doing a 48 hour fast to highlight the absurdity of our food system but somehow he is still a ball of energy! Sam is dynamic and enterprising and I can’t help but be incredibly impressed by the whole operation.

We line up for the hot food with the que now spilling onto the street.

I opt for fish pie, pasta, salad and roast vegetables. It’s mouth-wateringly good!

My friends donate generously and I give my £1 for the day, if I was not constrained by the challenge and truly able to pay as I feel about this incredible project it would certainly be more.

Sam stands up and says a few words. Following the speech, it’s time to say goodbye to my friends and return to base. I’ve learnt that The Real Junk Food Project is coming to Southampton soon. ‘Curb’ as it’s called, is a project co-led by Louiza Hamidi – check them out on Facebook.

Louiza tells me that Curb is currently in the planning stages but will be doing pop-up’s in the town centre market from March. They are also looking for a kitchen to occupy, so they can have a permanent spot.

Once I’m back at the ranch it’s time to finish the boney broth! I’m conscious it’s been a long entry so I will post the recipe in tomorrow’s blog.

Importantly, the results are in and I may have been a teeny bit sceptical to start with but it’s not bad at all!

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