‘Old School Junk’ is a fascinating pop-up food market and restaurant at The Light in Leeds from ‘Food for School’ a project that aims to remove hunger as a barrier to learning.
Intrigued by the concept following some involvement through Far’n’Beyond, I took Little M to a breakfast launch event to find out more.
The ‘Food for School’ initiative provides breakfast from food earmarked as waste to schools in Leeds and beyond. Primarily from supermarkets, it is often food that doesn’t even get onto the shelves. With this food, each of the schools can offer free school breakfasts to its children and help remove hunger as a barrier to learning.
Little M was very excited about the prospect of going to Leeds for breakfast and going on a train – I was slightly more cautious as we joined the early morning rush hour, but our journey and the short walk to The Light from Leeds Station was a great success.
On arrival, we were welcomed by a group of very friendly volunteers who directed us to the restaurant. Presented with a table of food, Little M quickly identified what he wanted, and it was just a short guessing game before we established it was definitely the chocolate croissant.
Inside there are two seating areas, one formal and a more casual space with colouring in activities, chalk board, giant connect four and crafts table. Little M loves a good bit of stationery, so he was in his element and particularly fond of wiping clean the chalk board!
As we explored, I spoke with Nathan Atkinson, who explained how the ‘Fuel for School’ programme (in partnership with ‘The Real Junk Food Project’) works and its key objectives:
- Remove hunger as a barrier to learning
- Highlight the importance of nutrition, well-being and the associated benefits linked to learning
- Highlight the vast amounts of wasted (yet perfectly edible) food across our local and wider communities.
The mission makes perfect sense and helps ensure children are given an equal start in education, without stigma and provides breakfasts for hundreds of students who for a variety of reasons may not have one before they get to school.
Overall the campaign is fascinating. The Pop-Up Market #PAYF (Pay as you feel) enables families who are keen to support ‘The Real Junk food Project.’ to purchase ‘wasted’ food with time, money or skills.
Primarily to help children who don’t have access to free school meals during the summer holidays – the #payf concept raises money, awareness and capacity for the charity without judgement and was a great learning opportunity for Little M.
I am really impressed with the campaign and with Nathan and would encourage anyone to visit Fuel for School and learn more about the organisation.