Harrogate church launches 'Pay-as-you-feel' café

Resurrected BitesBitesSt Mark’s church, Harrogate has launched an environmentally friendly  ‘pay-as you-feel’ café using food which otherwise would go to landfill.

‘Resurrected Bites’ officially opened at the weekend in the Community rooms of St Mark’s Church, and will be open every Wednesday and the third Saturday of the month, from 10am until 2pm.

Instead of a price list, diners choose how much they would like to donate. Food from local shops and supermarkets, destined to go to landfill, is turned into safe nutritious meals and snacks by a team of chefs.

Resurrected BitesPictured top right is Michelle Hayes, who works at St Mark’s Church, and has set up the project, with chefs Neil and William Meadows and Nick Fisher. 

(Pictured left, one of the team of volunteers, Heather Rowe).

 “People ask me if this is a soup kitchen for the homeless, and the answer is no”, said Michelle. “This is a café for everyone. Each month, we’ll give 10% of our takings to a different charity. This month we are fundraising for Harrogate Homeless Project and its Springboard support group.”

The aim of ‘Resurrected Bites’, says Michelle, is to reduce food waste in the Harrogate area. “The name reflects how the venture gives food new life rather than letting it go to landfill or anaerobic digestion. Of course, it only uses food that is still safe to eat and of good quality.”

Sainsbury’s, the Cheeseboard of Harrogate, Regal Fruiterers, the Cold Bath Road Deli, and the Co-ops on Leeds Road and Otley Road in Harrogate all contributed food to the launch of the café. Contributions also came from the Real Junk Food Project, which has a warehouse of intercepted food and a network of cafés around the country. Adam Smith, the Real Junk Food Project’s founder, was at the launch the Harrogate venture.

The project also aims to raise awareness of environmental issues, says Michelle. “A big focus of the venture is the environmental impact of food waste which is a major cause of carbon emissions, and therefore climate change. If you think of the carbon emissions from global food waste as a country, they’re the third biggest emitter after China and the USA.”


Michelle already has an established group of volunteers serving and cooking in the café, but she’s always happy to accept more. “We’re hoping to find people to help us run other activities at the same time as the café – such as a monthly computer club aimed at the silver surfers who may need someone to show them where their emails are disappearing to or how to Skype their family.

“We also hope to set up a Parent’s Rest so mums and dads can eat and chat in peace while their children are looked after in the crèche. We are also looking for people to run a monthly Fixit Club so that we learn how to mend things rather than throw them away. We also on the look out for people to help to collect the food donations.”

Alongside the weekend launch of Resurrected Bites came the launch of a shop, ‘JarFull’ set up by Rebecca Lodge (pictured left).  Visitors will be able to bring along their own jars to fill with organic rice,  cereals, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and refillable laundry and washing up liquid. The shop will also sell a selection of environmentally friendly items to help customers reduce their including reusable straws, natural deodorant, soap and shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes and Bee’s Wrap sandwich wraps.


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