A look back at 2015

2015 was a busy year for us at Armley Junk-tion Cafe so we wanted to look back and share some of the highlights and thank you all for been part of it.


The Real Junk Food Project set up stall in Trinity Kitchen, Leeds

28th December - 8th February we ran a pop PAYF in Trinity Kitchen to help raise fund for our #saveyourcafe appeal and increase awareness of food waste. We worked alongside 4 other vendors Mama’s Jerk Station, Nelly’s Barn, You Doughnut and Busan BBQ who also operated on a PAYF basis.

Our friends at a little less known came along to capture the event for us, take a look at our youtube video below - Trinity Kitchen

Aside from raising funds and awareness of our cause, it was fantastic to see the support we have gained from people and that we inspired other street vendors to reduce their food waste, which will go some way to reducing the problem of food wastage in the UK, and definitely in Leeds.


We made it as finalists for the people's choice Sustainable Restaurant Awards 2015

Sustainable Restaurant Awards 2015

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) Awards are an annual celebration of everything that is good about the food-service industry and the people in it.

The awards honour; restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, contract caterers, cookery schools and hotels, who are members of the SRA, and who in the last year have made extraordinary accomplishments to drive forward their organisation's and industry's sustainability.

From over 850+ nominations from the British Public, we made it into the 5 shortlisted restaurants. Unfortunately we did not win however we were absolutely honored to make it into the nominations and amazed when we reached the final 5!

Knit as you feel with stitch

We began collaborations on a PAYF basis with Stitch Up, Leeds a local Innovative Social enterprise dedicated to teaching and promoting knitting and yarn crafts in a modern world and showcasing local makers #craftforlife.

Our very own Adam Smith gave a Tedx talk

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Starting in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Adam was invited by TED to highlight the issues of food waste and talk about The Real Junk Food Project movement and the Pay As You Feel concept that was started right here in Armley. The video has already been seen by over 7500 people on YouTube and is still continuing to grow. Check out dam’s talk below. Adam's talk


Our Official Rename - The Real Junk Food Project to Armley Junk-tion Cafe

ou may remember when we started out life we first opened our doors as The Real Junk Food Project. Due to the success of the cafe and the concept we had built, we began to receive global media attention and contact from people around the world asking if they could replicate the idea, and so The Real Junk Food Project became a charitable foundation and the network began. It was at this point we needed to rename the cafe and our community cast their vote and Armley Junktion Cafe was born. Although we are no longer named The Real Junk Food Project we are still incredibly proud that this is where it all began.

BBC 3 film our Food interception at Kirkgate Market

We were approached by the BBC to film a video with us for the launch of their new Short Form online show. They came along with us as we intercepted food from Leeds Kirkgate market to highlight the atrocity of the quantity of perfectly edible food that was destined for landfill if we had not intercepted it, and to show what can be done with the food that is classed as “waste” Food interception

Al Jazeera Earthrise films at Armley Junktion

Al Jazeera, focus on people and events that affect people's lives.They bring topics to light that often go under-reported, listening to all sides of the story and giving a 'voice to the voiceless.'

They reach more than 282 million households in over 140 countries across the globe, keeping viewers informed, inspired, and entertained.

Their impartial, fact-based reporting wins worldwide praise and respect. It is our unique brand of journalism that the world has come to rely on.

They are seen to be reshaping global media and constantly working to strengthen our reputation as one of the world's most respected news and current affairs channels.

Due to the ethics and ethos of Al Jazeera we were absolutely delighted when they approached us about filming a short video about our story here at Armley Junktion and how The Real Junk Food Project movement. Al Jazeera video


Mik Artistic performed live

Mik is one of Armley’s local celebrities he is not only known for his music he is also known for his artwork, his portraits drawn on brown paper bags, his appearances on Emmerdale as an extra and his cameo in Phoenix Nights.

It was a pleasure having him perform at Armley Junk-tion and it's safe to say the crowds enjoyed his unique mix of punk, funk and a whole host of familiar songs.

Armley Junktion launched weekly men's group in partnership with BARCA

ARCA-Leeds is a multi-purpose charity in Bramley. They provide specialist services to help people overcome a broad range of issues. BARCA-Leeds supports all members of the local community, and we are pleased to be working with them to offer a men's group here at the cafe.

Cheese toasties!

19th May became a landmark date for us here at Armley Junktion. It started out like any other Tuesday but with limited food options and a lack of volunteers it was left in the hands of Teresa our cafe manager to feed the masses with what we had. Luckily we always have an abundance of bread and Teresa is a dab hand at making a cheese toasty. What could have ended in disaster turned out to be one of our record breaking days it was so successful we are thinking about making it an annual event.


As we had renamed ourselves Armley Junktion Cafe we needed a new logo to go with our name. We wanted to keep the Garden Fork as part of our logo as this has become synonymous with The Real Junk Food Project however we needed something specifically for the cafe. Luckily for us the lovely Isobel Wilson was on hand and created our new logo that you will see at the top of our newsletter.

We became the proud owners of Armley Junk-tion cafe

After a successful crowdfunding campaign we were able to purchase the Armley Junktion premises securing the future of the cafe and preserving the heritage of The Real Junk Food Project. Non of this would have been possible without the generosity and support of the public and the help and determination form our directors and volunteers. To everyone involved we are truly thankful.


We expanded our team

We were pleased to welcome on board our 3 new cafe managers and successfully became a living wage employer.


Best Before Bistro Launched

We wanted to offer our local community a fine dining experience as well as a daytime cafe so we opened our Best Before Bistro 3 evenings a week (Thurs, Fri, Sat) We offer 2 sittings per evening 6-8pm and 8pm-10pm and allow our patrons the option to bring their own bottle. The Best Before Bistro also runs on a Pay As You Feel concept and has been hugely successful since we opened our doors in November. Our volunteer Chefs have created meals that could compete with high end city centre restaurants with the ingredients we have been intercepted. it truly is amazing what you can make from other people's “waste”.


2nd birthday AJ

We celebrated our 2nd birthday at Armley Junk-tion on 16th December 2015 with all a friends and patrons and we look forward to celebrating many more to come.

126 hour Christmas marathon

Initially the idea was to open our cafe to hold a Dr Who back to back marathon however that quickly escalate, like all our ideas do to  126 hour opening. We decided we didn't want anyone to be alone or on the street at Christmas so we opened our doors to everyone on 23rd December for 24 hours a day giving people a place to eat and sleep and hangout in.

During that week we served 283 people and made 351 meals while receiving £846.58 in donations in the Cafe.

We also supported the local victims that were effected by the floods on Boxing Day by supplying them with food and donating our last day of donations to them. £95.98.

The opening was great successes and not only did we offer people a place to go when they needed it but we attracted some amazing volunteers and people came from far and wide to support. We thank with all our heart everyone that was involved in this as it did really restore our faith in human kindness.