Catching Up With The Real Junk Food Project Doncaster

Written: Fiona Cahill
Photographed: Warren Draper

We are the Real Junk Food Project Doncaster, a pay-as-you-feel cafe run by volunteers on Scot Lane. Our ethos is reduce, reuse, recycle and we campaign to end food waste.
Originally opening as a single experimental café in Leeds in 2013, there are now 126 Real Junk Food Project Cafés around the world. We have venues in South Korea, Germany and Nigeria, with a Dubai venue about to launch. Globally, we have fed 1.1 million customers and saved more than 2,000 tonnes of food from landfill. For every tonne of food we divert to
#feedbelliesnotbins, we prevent 4.2 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. TRJFP might be on global scale now, but here in Doncaster we are proud to be one of the first projects in this exciting and growing network.
At the heart of our mission is to tackle the global contradiction of a world plagued by food waste and starvation at the same time that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is thrown away, causing incalculable environmental damage and wasting vast natural resources. One estimate suggests that if human beings only produced the food they needed, an area the size of Mexico could be reclaimed from farming. Yet, simultaneously, some 800 million people across the planet are malnourished.
It is clear that this global issue requires systemic changes. These need work from and with the public, businesses and legislators. We are committed to engaging and educating people from our accessible town centre venue. We always aim to champion local businesses who work alongside us, to ensure edible food waste does not go to landfill.
Our café on Scot Lane proved regenerative and engaged our community. We did this by using an empty shop with the owners permission and no budget. Everything was reused and upcycled, we made it happen together as a community. There was no hot running water or heating and we faced and met every challenge. Despite this, we pulled together to win a National Industry Award for Sustainability in 2017.
We are very proud of the close working relationships we’ve forged with many other local organisations, through the redistribution of our food. We have reached women suffering domestic violence, refugees and asylum seekers and supported the Amber project, which works with street level sex workers. We work regularly with Age UK on events to ease social isolation, and hosted
a pumpkin rescue in the Frenchgate Centre.

With the help of our amazing volunteers, our café is open 5 days a week for breakfast and lunch. At the centre of our success is the mix of people, from young families to elderly visitors, who help us run the project and try our good grub. Would you like to be part of this global movement?
1. Shop and eat with us. Every breakfast or lunch you enjoy with us supports us to keep doing good.
2. Volunteer for a shift. Become part of our team and meet new friends.
3. You can donate to our crowdfunder to raise funds for a van, which will help us rescue food from more places for redistribution. We have future plans to redistribute to schools, where we can teach development goals. We want to share our example of a circular economy, and give children the opportunity to create their own projects and build a better future. We will ensure we reach families at risk of food poverty, but will go further — to empower local communities to deal with food waste and its consequences of hunger and climate change, creating systemic change.
4. Become a partner, sponsor, benefactor, or donate a skill, some time or equipment we need for our new venue. We will create a thank you wall and special page on our website.
5. We are looking for craft people and artists to work with us on the refurbishment project. We have begun some work in the arts with pop-up gallery space, live musicians at events, showcasing upcycling,
and hosting touring companies who share performances about social and environmental justice. This will continue and develop in our new venue. Contact:
therealjunkfoodprojectdonny@gmail. com 6. Spread the word. Find us online. Be part of the movement. End therealjunkfoodprojectdoncaster.co.uk facebook.com/TheRealJunkFoodProjectDoncaster/Twitter: @TRJFPDoncaster

Bloomin' Foreigners

Written and photographed: Green Jacker

Conservation biologists are quite right to warn about the dangers of invasive alien species. Many of us know all too well the problems presented by plants such as Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and Himalayan balsam
(Impatiensglandulifera), which can rapidly take over large swathes of land and can be expensive to control. Whilst Japanese knotweed is actually edible, tasting like rhubarb, a piece the size of a postage stamp is enough to start a whole new colony that can make it harder to sell your house – I’d stick to actual rhubarb if I were you. But not all invasive species are problematic.
A few years ago, there was panic about the New Zealand flatworm (Arthurdendyus triangulatus) when it was discovered that they eat our own beloved earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris). Some predicted Armageddon for our gardeners’ friend. Instead,
as is often the case in nature, an equilibrium has been reached. Other invasive species turn out not only to be ecologically benign, but actively beneficial to native eco-systems — some aliens really do come in peace.
In the US researchers studied an area of Pennsylvania known as Happy Valley, where it was widely believed that non-native honeysuckle (Lonicera) was a real problem for local eco-systems. What they actually found was that birdlife was thriving in the area thanks to the abundance of honeysuckle berries, with three to four times more fruit-eating birds than before. The new abundance of birds also helped to disperse the seeds of native plants like nightshade.
Human activity has blurred the once well-defined lines of fixed regional habitat. Global transport systems now move species at an alarming rate. Farming, industrialisation and city-building are destroying ancient ecosystems across the planet and climate change is forcing nature’s hand with rising temperatures and ever-more chaotic weather patterns and seasons.
I have spent my life on the frontline of ecological resistance and for much of that time the focus has been on preserving things as they once were. Whilst I still believe this work to be a necessity in many cases, I am also beginning to understand that we must also encourage new forms of ecological equilibrium in a much-changed and ever-changing world.
In terms of human diet, we would simply not enjoy the same level of nutrition and food security if we had not moved edible species around the globe. Very little in our diet is indigenous to where we live — although we are conversely guilty of ignoring some perfectly edible native delicacies. Doncaster could
be a wonderful testing ground for experimenting with new food crops. Our de-industrialised region is rife with disused land and buildings to experiment with new crops without risk to sensitive eco-systems.
Paul Stabeler of the new Good Food Doncaster anti-food poverty partnership, tells me that the Soil Association have described Doncaster as one of the most interesting and diverse soil maps in the UK. At Bentley Urban Farm we have already been experimenting with exotic crops like Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius). Also known as a ‘ground pear’, this South American relative of the sunflower produces tubers resembling King Edward potatoes, but which taste like watermelon. They’re so delicious and refreshing I pretty much ate our first crop myself.
What if we identified other species from around the world which were perfect for our different soil types? What if Doncaster were to become known for growing niche foods? And what if we also measured the effect of each new crop on local wildlife so that, in the future, we plant species which we know will have a positive effect?
We have an opportunity here for a new way of farming that embraces change while encouraging ecological harmony — all you need to get involved is a spade!
If you want to join the food growing revolution (or even the growing food revolution), then come and volunteer with the Greenjacker down on Bentley Urban Farm…
www.bentleyurbanfarm.com bentleyurbanfarm@gmail.com 07422 966115

#LoveLocal With ReckageAtHome

Written and photographed by Rachel Horne 
I never realised the value of a good set of curtains ‘til I moved into a new rental property this winter. It’s been so cold I’ve been sharing images of igloos on social media stating: “yay house warming at my new ice cube”.
Despite this, I do love my little house in the heart of the Copley Road/Nether Hall area, even though it’s cold, I’ve been determined to make it as cosy on the small budget I have.
For the last 16 years I’ve been renting, I’ve gone curtain free or had basic bog standard blinds installed by landlords or previous tenants. In all honesty, I’ve never thought much about curtains. I didn’t realise how important curtains would be in helping to insulate each baltic room and make my new nest look like a palace.
Many friends offered to donate curtains but I stupidly didn’t believe they would improve the Icelandic ambience that much. Luckily, my friend and colleague June McMillan (also known as Mamma Wheatley — of Mamma Wheatley’s Craft Club fame) bought several sets of curtains to my house with instructions on how to hang them. This act of kindness got me thinking about the humble curtain.
As rooms in my house started to feel warmer and cosier, I began researching the origin this mighty invention – have people always had curtains? And why didn’t I get on this sooner?
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, excavations from the ancient Greek cities Olynthus, Pompeii and Herculaneum depicted room dividers know as portieres. This may have been the earliest record of the curtain in human history but maybe they go back even further. Mosaics of the Early Christian period (c. 2nd–6th century AD) show curtains suspended from rods spanning arches. Clearly those early Christians knew how to keep cosy.

Catching the bug for these fabric window wonders, I decided to purchase a pair for my bedroom from a supermarket chain with a bargain price tag. Of course being a curtain novice I got swindled. The poor quality did nothing to insulate my room and they were 4ft smaller than the photography on the front of their packing. They looked crap and wouldn’t iron either.
I was stuck with a set-up of crumpled dish rags hanging from a rail.
This is when I decided to go local.
Reckage at Home is a stunning interiors shop and bespoke manufacturer of Doncaster made furniture based in Sprotbrough. Owned by partners in crime Neil Cawood and Rachel Schofield they can kit out your home, or business, to the highest spec.
Visiting to the shop, I was introduced to a huge pile of fabric samples, many were designed by long standing textile houses and printed in the UK, others from around Europe. Rachel suggested that I should take the sample packs home to see how we got on. I spent the next few days bonding with my chosen fabrics.

Eventually, I choose a bright red floral 1960s print by Lotta Jansdotter a Scandinavian designer. Rachel and Neil then came to my house to measure the windows and advise me on the different styles of curtains. I chose a Voyager print called Kiribati for my bedroom where Rachel recommended a Roman triangular style blind, I had no idea such things exist.

Having curtains fitted sounds like a luxury and I don’t have much disposable income – but to buy from a local independent business means I am putting my pounds back into our local economy. What’s more, Rachel and her partner are lovely people. They didn’t mind at all when my doggo Rufus started dragging his butt across the floor only to reveal a big clump of poop hanging from his fluffy behind. Neil commented “is your dog a shitzu?” You couldn’t meet more down to earth people, passionate about what they do.

Discover World Food In Doncaster….

Words: Rachael Butler
Illustration: Al Heighton

Food is a unifying force for good. It’s difficult to really understand a nation – what sets it apart, its celebrations, struggles and values – until you’ve tasted the food of that nation.

Think about the great British Sunday lunch and how much you miss it when you go on holiday. Then think about India, Jamaica, Italy, Thailand or Spain… it’s hard not to instantly salivate for the taste of a good old ruby, smothered chicken, comforting spaghetti, flavoursome spring rolls or fresh tapas.

When we consider a town that embraces all nations, there is no better benefit to everyday Donny folk, than the range of dining options this brings. And for an ex-mining town, we’re lucky to have a varied range of all nation dining options in and around Donny town centre – options that seem to be increasing.

Doncaster owes much of its entrepreneurial spirit and growing independent local vibe to our honorary residents from other nations. So, before our next edition ofDoncopolitan magazine showcasing Doncaster’s foodie festival and food offerings. This month we’re highlighting and celebrating the foodie entrepreneurs, from all nations, that are proudly making Doncaster what it is today – on the up!



L Café

If you’ve ever wandered down Nether Hall Road on a grey day you won’t have missed this cute corner café, nestled on the Broxholme Lane junction. The exterior is adorned with hanging baskets, smart all weather al fresco tables and cute signage indicate this is not your average greasy spoon or fast food take-away. With an extensive drinks menu, including Tchibo coffee and a Suki green and herbal teas, there’s no selection like this anywhere else in Doncaster. When it comes to their menu L Café has its own motto, “fresh food, not fast food”.

Recently, L Café has become well known on social media for it’s 666 Devil’s Breakfast, which promises to be the biggest breakfast in Yorkshire. Harley, the owner, is a local property developer who is investing in the area and sees L Café at the heart of that change, with initiatives such as supporting local artists, with artwork featured upstairs from local artist David Alison.

Address: 97 Nether Hall Road, Doncaster DN1 2QA

Opening Times: Monday–Friday: 8am-5pm, Saturday: 10am-4pm, Sunday Closed.

Follow them on facebook @doncastercafe or call in to pick up a takeaway menu.

Vivo Italiano

Chefs Franco and Giuseppe are the proud family owners of this gem that has a long and established reputation for delicious Italian food and a home-made tiramisu to die for. Chatting to Franco and Giuseppe before or after you dine and you’ll get the feeling a lot of passion and love goes into this food. Why go to Pizza Express when the genuine thing is available in Donny town centre for the same price.

Address: 11 Bennetthorpe, Doncaster DN2 6AA

Opening Times: Monday–Thursday: 6pm-10:30pm, Friday–Saturday: 5:30-11:30pm, Sunday Closed

Thai at the Sal

One of the best recent additions to Doncaster’s foodie offering opened last year. Chintana, known as Ton to her friends, grew up in a village not far from the city of Ratchuburi in Thailand. She opened her first Thai restaurant when she was just 18 years old. Luckily for us, she later met her husband and they decided to move to Doncaster to start a family. Ton now runs the only Thai restaurant in Doncaster, Thai at the Sal. Check out their menu or make a booking: http://www.thesalutationdoncaster.com/thai-at-the-sal/


Address: The Salutation, 14 South Parade, Doncaster DN1 2DR

Opening Times: 6pm-10:30pm every day!




Coffee in the UK does not have a good international reputation. Luckily, we have a Kiwi who has made Doncaster his home. Who just happens to make the best flat white – New Zealand style – in Doncaster. Reece Boardman from Christchurch, New Zealand owns Prego café and coffee shop with his partner Jayne. We love the chilled-out vibe of this place, and that they always have avocado on the menu.

Address: 35 Hall Gate, Doncaster DN1 3NL

Opening Times: MondayFriday8.30am-3.30pmSaturday 8.30am-12.30pmSunday closed.

Pakos Sweet House

The first of it’s kind to open in Doncaster! Osman, the owner, opened this unique shop on Copley Road in November 2017. The traditional sweet house sells a mixture of Kurdish, Turkish, Iranian Balkva sweets. If you’ve not tried these middle eastern treats they are made from thin layers of pastry soaked in a honey syrup, topped with pistachio nuts. Brilliant for parties or to enjoy with a coffee.

Osman moved to Doncaster 15 years go, for a better life, he believes Doncaster is an excellent town and is very proud to own a business here. And with sweet treats like this on offer who can argue with that.

Address: 3 Copley Rd, Doncaster DN1 2QP

Opening Times: Monday-Sunday: 10am-8pm


Top Meal

A popular high quality take-out on the bottom of Broxholme Lane, this cute little business rivals many local takeaways with it’s charcoal barbecue grill, serving traditional Polish pork fillets, know as szazlyyka, as well as premium 90% beef burgers. There’s an amazing choice of fresh salad and everything is served in a toasted Turkish flat bread. The owner Adam, opened the business in July 2015, choosing the area for the good parking for customers.

Address: 4 Broxholme Lane, Doncaster DN1 2LL

Opening Times: Monday–Thursday: 4pm-10:30pm, Friday–Saturday: 2pm-10:30pm, Sunday: 2pm-10pm


The City Restaurant

Located at the bottom of Kingsgate in the recently re-branded shopping centre Waterdale Village, this restaurant offers a variety of Eastern European and English dishes for meat lovers. Sirloin steak, venison, duck fillets, beef goulash and pork fillet medallions. The owner Mark picked this great central location as he saw potential with people coming to the railway station and Cast theatre, he also believes Doncaster has great business potential despite being a post industrial city.

Address: 2 Kingsgate, Doncaster DN1 3JZ

Opening Times: Monday: 2pm-10pm, Tuesday Closed, Wednesday–Thursday: 2pm-10pm, Friday–Saturday: 2pm-12am, Sunday: 2pm-10pm

Kurdish Restaurant

An informal canteen style restaurant owned by Ali, the proprietor of the Halal Meat shop also on Copley Road. Serving kebabs, salad and vegetable dishes, such as butter beans in tomato sauce. Kurdish food is generally mild in flavour and most dishes are served with traditional Kurdish bread, which is made fresh on site. It’s very flat and a little crispy. You can also order traditional black teas, which comes in cute small glasses. Another great thing about this restaurant is the price tag, it’s super affordable making it a great little place to catch-up with friends for a quick bite to eat.

Address: 51 Copley Rd, Doncaster DN1 2QP

Opening Times:  Monday–Sunday: 11am-10pm

The Devons Kitchen

Devon Sharpe is the owner of this business, he’s been a chef for over 30 years and it shows. He grew up in Jamaica and learnt to cook with his grandma. So it’s easy to spot his family recipes. He has a real skill in using fresh ingredients – many of which are grown on their allotment – creating unique tastes. The most popular dishes are jerk chicken, mutton curry, ackee and saltfish – starting with a menu which introduces new customers to Jamaican food. Both the owners resigned from their jobs to commit to the new venture. Many of their patrons are from Doncaster and the surrounding areas and the owners love the community feel in Bentley, stating “the support we have had from the community has been overwhelming”. There is also a takeaway service that covers most areas in Doncaster.

Address: 114 High Street Bentley Doncaster DN5 0AT

Opening Times: Tuesday–Saturday: 12pm-10pm

The Green House

A brand new venture for local lad Callum Fox – who’s artwork you may have seen on posters for both Priory and Social over the years. This creative entrepreneur has been passionate about food for most his adult life. Callum became vegan two years ago and has a love of experimenting with new dishes – you may remember his recipe in issue 20 of Doncopolitan – how to make a vegan yorkshire pud.

Opening on Valentines Day this year, this isn’t just vegan food this is plant-based artisan food. There will be a rotating menu, changing every few months with fresh colourful Buddha bowls, pies and in house seitan dishes such as burgers and southern fried tenders. The menu currently includes Moroccan inspired dishes. Even if you are not vegan this place is definitely worth a look – the cruelty free vegan chocolate cheesecake is to die for and guilt free!

Current opening hours will be Thursday/Friday/Saturday 12pm-8pm but keep yours eyes peeled for our Sunday lunches and Saturday morning breakfast club.

 With Delicious Doncaster just right round the corner, we are excited that Doncaster is getting a food and drink festival on the 4th of May. Find out more HERE

Embrace The Space Issue 28 #AllNations

How Doncaster’s landmark theatre is helping to develop local talent and put our town on the creative map.

Cast’s building is open as a creative centre for artists to develop and create new work. They believe in the creative potential of every individual and the transformative power of engagement with the arts. Cast’s work enriches and inspires the people of Doncaster and the wider region, contributing to vibrant and creative communities. They support a range of residencies throughout
the year, available to not-for-profit practitioners working in the performing arts at all career stages. R&D periods will usually be for up to one week, but sometimes for extended periods, in Cast’s welcoming rehearsal spaces.
Production Support is open to artists looking to realise projects and productions that will be premiered or seen at Cast. As part of a developing relationship with Cast, artists can benefit from a range of existing in-house resources through a programme of bespoke support.
Associate Artists are fixed-term relationships (of between 1-5 years) with Cast which can include production support, extended opportunities for R&D, brand endorsement, advocacy, access to mentoring and advice from Cast staff and assistance with strategic planning or company development. Throughout the year, Cast provides plenty of opportunities that encourage local people to develop their talents both on and off stage. From play-reading to acting, there’s always a wide range of activity going on to enhance and shape further development.
Scriptworks is Doncaster’s writing group welcoming anyone who has a love of story-telling, brought to you by Target Theatre Company and Cast. These short workshops will focus on a broad range of techniques and tips, and are led by a team of professional writers and guest practitioners. Scriptworks is a friendly and supportive environment, where local writers can submit or develop their scripts works to be read together in an informal setting. at monthly sharings/readings. There will also be the opportunity to take part in public readings and other projects. It’s the perfect opportunity for those of you with an interest in writing professionally and a story to tell.
Cast additionally organises a brilliant local network of artists who meet monthly to discuss ideas and opportunities, make connections, and share ideas. Each month, they have a guest theatre company or artist who shares their practice, journey and ideas with the group.
Cast are also a part of Venues North, a network of venues from across the North of England who are committed to supporting artists to create new work. They have additionally contributed to Routes In, a document that offers insight into programmers and programming, and an overview on how they make their choices about the work that features on their stages.
Cast also supports Slate – a new international programme, starting in the North of England, that will support thousands of Black Independent Artists by increasing access to local, national and international networks.
Find out more about Cast HERE