Sunderland Students up-cycle food waste with the Magic Hat Cafe

Sunderland Students’ Union has teamed up with the Magic Hat Cafe in an aim to upcycle edible food waste. 

On 14th February, Sunderland University visited the local North East cafe to help raise awareness around environmental and social injustice by encouraging students to volunteer for the day. 

Bianca Brisan, activities and opportunities officer for the Student Union, said: “I reach out to different charities and organisations to try and develop links with them for our students but for the Magic Hat Cafe it was easier because I have volunteered there in the past and I love what they do.” 

“My role was to introduce the members of staff to the students and make sure the event is running smoothly by making sure the students are engaging with the activities on the day.”

The Magic Hat, founded in 2014, is a cafe and market ran team of dedicated staff and volunteers who are passionate about abolishing food waste, here in Newcastle.

Jess Miller, a Volunteer, said: “We engage with shops, restaurants, farms and other food businesses to intercept their surplus food that would have otherwise become landfill. Instead, we turn this into tasty, nutritious meals which we serve on a pay-as-you-feel basis at our weekly pop-up cafe.”

“Our volunteer team includes people from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and nationalities, but we all share the same passion and commitment – globally to the environment, and locally to our community. You don’t need to have any previous food-related experience, just come along and get stuck in.”

The organisation has served over 20,000 meals and has an associated carbon saving of 210 tonnes of CO2.

“The pay as you feel aspect to our project makes us accessible to everyone, whilst asking people to consider how much they value what others have thrown away. It gives a unique, inclusive atmosphere that brings people together from across communities and improves access to fresh produce through our shop.”

For more information regarding volunteering, visit the Magic Hat Cafe or contact Sunderland Students’ Union at yoursu@sunderland.ac.uk for further opportunities. 

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