It has been a very exciting first year for TRJFP Edinburgh – thank you to all those who have supported us in making Scotland’s first Pay As You Feel, intercepted food pop-up café such a success! Here’s a wee reminder of what we’ve been up to…
After a little deliberation about the best model, we decided to go ahead and set up as part of TRJFP – a fine decision we are pleased to say! We visited the original café in Leeds for some inspiration and motivation. The Transition Edinburgh South Grow Stronger project and Gracemount Community Centre were behind us from the start and, though the project ended in March, we couldn’t have continued without their support.
We began knocking on doors in search of sources of food and venues for pop-up events. We ‘gleaned’ a lot (an alarming amount) of veg from Knowes Farm near Dunbar, who were desperate for their surplus to be eaten, which is what it was grown for after all. And the Union of Genius were delightful enough to invite us to use their café!
We took them up on the offer and held our first event there on March 1, feeding almost 80 people, with Dig-In Bruntsfield and Fruitalicious supplying food to top up what we had gathered at the farm. Mike and Jamil were enthusiastic from the start and remain key suppliers.
We continued to run fortnightly café events at the Union, and it was full steam ahead in April: we ran an event with a different vibe at Paradise Palms and, on the same day, presented the project and on food waste generally at the Edinburgh International Science Festival; later that month we served PAYF soup and cake to a brand new audience at the Botanical Gardens’ Spring Festival.
May saw our first PAYF dinners, with the long-table, community meal set-up we had been aiming for: first at the Edinburgh Larder Café, and then at Breadshare, who had also begun supplying us with their surplus but still wonderful bread. Continuing at the Union, we also joined and helped feed the Slow Food Youth Network Eat-In, a food flash mob on the Royal Mile.
We held our first volunteer meeting in June, with nearly 20 people joining us at the Larder. And we needed their help – in a single weekend we fed bellies not bins at Loretto Primary School in Musselburgh (with a lot of help from the P6 pupils!), the Power of Food Festival and at Breadshare. We were also constituted as a Community Interest Company, just by the way…
Just as our dreams of taking the Edinburgh Festival by storm were wearing thin, Canongate Youth were brilliant enough to offer their shiny new (despite the name) Old School Café any evening we wanted it during August. So July was relatively quiet as we braced ourselves but we returned to the Larder, and served soup and cake at the Farmers’ Market on the Slow Food stall.
Festival time. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we filled the Old School Café, feeding some 400 bellies across the month, and entertaining the owners of those bellies with discussion, music, theatre and film. We were thrilled (and relieved!) to be joined by the team from There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch café in Glasgow for two of the nights. More details here and here!
We spent September recovering and planning where next. Donna, newly appointed Scottish co-ordinator for TRJFP, went to Leeds to meet colleagues from across the UK.
Zero Waste Scotland invited us to end day one of their Resources conference in Glasgow, and we cooked up soup on stage and answered questions with the Free Lunch café and TRJFP Glasgow. Reaching out to still more new audiences, we were filmed intercepting and at the Old School Café by BBC’s rural affairs programme Landward.
That programme went out at the beginning of November and was a great snapshot of what TRJFP is about. It is also about encouraging others to start up themselves, and we headed over to help out at TRJFP Glasgow’s first event – but they surely had it under control anyway! At the end of the month we had PAYF food alongside a screening of Just Eat It: a food waste movie followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker via Skype.
We rounded off the year with our first ‘private function’, providing dinner for Changeworks volunteers at their Christmas party. It was great to end with a new challenge and we are already planning more of those in the New Year. Fair fa’ oor honest, sonsie face…