The Wastecafé has started as a mobile pop-up kitchen, built from recycled materials.
It is a community-driven social economy experience kitchen.
It was first seen in Mølleparken in Aarhus in July 2015, and since then it has become more than 100 events, not only in Aarhus, but also in Roskilde, Ebeltoft, Aalborg, Randers and Silkeborg.
The Wastecafé is not an ordinary café. There is actually not a café.
At The Wastecafé there are no cooks and there are no waiters, and nobody makes and serve your food for you.
In return, it is quite free to be included. Everyone can contribute to The Wastecafé. And therefore, no food is made for people, but with people. So even those who do not have the great experience with cooking may be involved, because there is ample opportunity to learn from someone who has more experience than you have yourself. At The Wastecafé it is possible to meet people of all ages, from children to retirees. At the same time, The Wastecafé works to break down the the rules, which largely affects society. At The Wastecafé everybody is equal, and everyone can join – whether you are homeless, student, mayor or even Queen Margrethe. And if you can not cook, there is also the opportunity to be a part of the world’s nicest dishwashing, which takes place on real scouting manners.
The Wastecafé is not only about food. Food is just the tool used to create new communities around cooking. Because food is something everyone has a relation to and therefore also a topic, most people find it easy to find something to talk about – even with people they have not met before.
Behind the idea of The Wastecafé are two recipients of cash assistance who ripped into the supermarket containers after closing time to make a day of living, but at the same time also to help families with income from transfer that had difficulty getting the money for a meal every day.
The idea arose from the desire to focus on the increasing hidden poverty in Denmark, where more and more families find it hard to find money for food every day – while supermarkets are throwing more tonnes of food out daily . The Wastecafé emerged as an attempt to offset the inequality and show that food waste is not something that must necessarily be stopped – but, on the other hand, it is a resource that should only be used better for the benefit of those who need it.
Therefore, the raw materials used for the events are still rubbing from the supermarkets’ containers the previous day.
There has been no intention of making any agreements with any stores, as the intention of the project is not to stop food waste or take the food out of the mouth of people who survive from being able to collect. Therefore, the raw materials are collected on equal terms and in cooperation with other collectors.
The Wastecafé operates on the basis of a saying that “food is not a privilege, it is a right”.
But as The Wastecafé has evolved, it has become much more than just a “food project”. The Wastecafé has proven to be something that is not found in many other places. What makes The Wastecafé work is a foundation where challenged citizens lift each other and take joint responsibility for something everyone has ownership of.
In The Wastecafé there is no one who decides. Those who want can meet every Tuesday at. 16, and at these meetings, we decide what is going to happen in The Wastecafé. The decisions are taken together and everyone has something to say.
Therefore, The Wastecafé has given more challenged citizens in Aarhus an opportunity to work with their own personal development at a pace they themselves have helped to determine and from a paragraph they themselves helped to organize so that these People get an opportunity to explore what it is, just what they are good at and what they are passionate about – without anyone putting pressure on them.
As The Wastecafé is both unique, innovative and sustainable, while addressing some of the major societal problems, such as poverty, food waste and loneliness, there has been a lot of support from the municipality, and therefore it is being prepared user agreement for a landmark in Aarhus, so the next big project at The Wastecafé will be building a solid base based on a sustainable approach – something that of course is also done jointly and where everyone who wants to join is welcome to participate in the building.
Annbritt Jørgensen, Co-founder The Wastecafé