B£ Surplus Canteen: Pay-What-You-Can Lunch and Supper
South Londoners, come along to a new pay-what-you-can canteen in Loughborough Junction which uses surplus food saved from landfill.
Visit the Platform Café on Ridgway Road on Mondays and Tuesdays for lunch (12.30–3 pm) and supper (4–7 pm). Expect nutritious and delicious vegan and vegetarian meals served by food enthusiasts, environmental activists and Mayor of London’s Urban Food Heroes. The canteen is open to everyone and particularly welcomes low-income locals and individuals with precarious working situations, young families, the disabled and neurodiverse community, and the most vulnerable members of the community.
Loughborough Junction is a South London food desert with a distinct lack of decent dining options. People suffering from food poverty are rubbing shoulders with the increasingly affluent. We’re looking to promote a society where healthy and affordable meals are provided as a universal basic service. Over nine million people in the UK are lonely, and in 2015, one-third of all food produced was wasted. B£ Surplus Canteen tackles both these issues head-on, bringing the community together in a social and supportive space to eat food provided by the charity, City Harvest. To date, City Harvest has saved 2,500 tonnes of produce from being unnecessarily discarded.
We offer an early supper, keen to welcome young families on there way back from school. Children under ten can eat for free. To acknowledge financial difficulties, we have a sliding scale of suggested prices, and will also accept Pay-It-Forwards or labour exchanges. Food Co-ordinator & artist Sean Roy Parker comments, “This is a non-judgemental enterprise. We understand how personal situations can change week-to-week – no one will be turned away for lack of funds.”
There is also the option to organise a take-away. To reduce waste, customers are encouraged to bring reusable containers for their meal. Outside, there’s a grocery stall where fresh produce and homemade products can be picked up for an extra donation. From March onwards, we’ll be offering free, practical workshops.
As Charlie Waterhouse, Brixton Pound board member, explains, “This is the antithesis of the cynical gentrification of Brixton. Where opportunistic capitalism delivers zeitgeist pop-ups, we’re showing the way – this is a model that welcomes everyone. Rather than promoting unhealthy delivery meals to eat home alone, we’re saying come down and collect your food, have a chat with neighbours and strangers – and take away a brilliant, nutritious, affordable meal that makes a real difference.”
Written by Sean Roy Parker and Emma Phillips
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