“I’m a Gardener, but I Spend Most Of My Time Picking Litter”

Yesterday, I received a text from one of the local cafes, offering some more bread for me to pick up that was unsold from the last few days. I sent my husband to collect it and he returned home with eight binbags full. He was shocked at the unfolding picture of the sheer scale of food waste across the city / country / world.

This morning, as happens quite often, some of the gardeners from Leeds City Council came to The Hub to mow the grass. The cafe was open (Tuesdays AND Wednesdays from now on!), and one of the guys popped in to ask if he could use the facilities. I also invited him and his team to have a quick coffee with us (I hope I’m not getting them into trouble typing this!) which they did, and we started chatting…

I explained the concept of the cafe, how it is Pay As You Feel, or as you are able; using your skills and time rather than money, to contribute positively. We talked about community building in the neighbourhood and how they had been working on this patch, and various others in the area for many years. One comment above all struck me; “I have spent more time picking litter than actual gardening.”

It got me thinking; how much of our time in our lives do we spend ‘picking litter’ (metaphorically and physically) and how much time do we spend ‘gardening’; doing what we are passionate about and have the skills in?

It feels as if, by being part of The Real Junk Food Project, it is highlighting the waste in our world not just in the physical sense, but also in the skills that are untapped, or under-utilised. When we start thinking about waste in those terms too, it feels like an unimaginable task to turn things around.

Those of us involved in ToastLoveCoffee feel honoured to be part of TRJFP, and, having been there from the humble beginnings and seeing it grow organically and at such speed to reach not only the four corners of the UK but further afield too, it seems as if it is not such a daunting task after all…

published by Anna Dyson
Founder and Director of ToastLoveCoffee. CEO of Dyson family, Roundhay (Leeds) branch which involves a huge array of skills impossible to imagine or articulate! Formerly, Jewish educator and community professional.


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