It was whilst out scavenging for vegetables for her hens, and seeing the amount of food going to waste, the idea of Transition Community Cafe came to Ann Bushell. Why not set up a community business that turns waste into a resource, and in doing so supplies delicious meals to the local community at a reasonable price?
The local Coop provided an unused building, volunteers and local businesses helped get it kitted out and up and running.
For a householder, waste is something you put in your wheelie bin, and think no more about it. For a local business, there is a cost incurred in disposal. Anything that helps cut that waste, or will take it off your hands for free, is a cost saving, and is therefore welcome.
- an empty shop put back into use
- food waste turned into a resource
- healthy meals at low cost
- revitalisation of a town centre
- meeting place
- recycling money within the local economy
Due to the variable nature of the ingredients, there is no fixed menu at Transition Community Cafe, it depends on what is available that day.
I have seen the amount of waste generated by food businesses, they seem to be happy to throw it away, and incur a cost in doing so, rather than take steps to reduce the waste.
I have suggested to Harris + Hoole Guildford, that left over food that would otherwise be thrown away, goes to a needy charity. This now happens, but that with a very short shelf life, still gets thrown away. Need to have offers at the end of the day. Buy a coffee and get a free savoury.
A bakery, sadly no longer in Guildford High Street, used to have a queue last half hour. Why, loaves of bread were half price.
Baker in Godalming, does buy one get one free. Far better, half price.
I do not know if they still do, Food For Thought in Covent Garden, used to give their scones and flapjacks to late customers to take away.
A deprived area like Aldershot, empty boarded-up units and fast food joints, poor diet, obesity. It cries out for a community venture like Transition Community Cafe, which also recycles money within the local community.
There is a cost to local councils in waste. It is therefore in their interest to support community ventures such as Transition Community Cafe.
Transition Community Cafe opened June 2013. Between the beginning of June and the end of September 2013 the project achieved the following:
- Surplus food acquired and kept from landfill – approx 100 kilos/week
- Food cooked and sold in the cafe – approx 50 kilos/week
- Food sent for composting, or to a bio-digester or to animal feed (when it has not entered the cafe nor come into contact with animal by-products) – approx 50 kilos/week
Transition Community Cafe is an excellent example of collaborative commons, sharing economy in action.