It was the birthplace of The Real Junk Food Project, a pioneering global movement aimed at reducing food waste.
But now Armley Junk-tion Café will serve its last food on Saturday and the Chapel Lane building has been put on the open market for £135,000.
Armley Junk-tion originally opened its doors on 16th December 2013 as The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP).
It was the first cafe of its kind to take intercepted food that had been destined for landfill and turn it into healthy meals allowing its customers to “pay as you feel” – or what they can afford.
TRJFP founder Adam Smith said the café was closing due to the need to pay back investors in the property four years ago. The only way of paying it back, he said, was to sell the building as the café itself had not made enough money. He added:
“It is sad. We always knew this might happen when we started out.”
He said the Real Junk Food Project was going from strength to strength, with more than 120 outlets globally and its Pudsey ‘sharehouse’ supporting more than 20,000 people in the past nine months. Mr Smith added:
“If it wasn’t for the people of Armley the project would never have succeeded. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported it, from former directors and customers and to the people of Armley in general.
“This was done in the harshest of environments. Armley wasn’t known as an areas for start-up enterprises and we faced problems with anti-social and criminal behaviour. I hope one day we might be able to come back into Armley. It is sad, but it’s the start of another chapter for us.”
Mr Smith said he was hoping to double the size of TRJFP in Leeds during 2018 and encouraged anyone short of food to visit the Pudsey ‘sharehouse’.
“Armley Junk-tion may be closing, but the project goes on. For example our Fuel for Schools project feeds between 15-20,000 school kids a week, helping to remove hunger as a barrier to learning,” Mr Smith added.
The café was subject to a crowdfunding appeal and refurbishment in August 2016 after it was forced to close due to unsafe electrics. Armley Junktion closed as a walk-in café earlier this year, instead focussing on external catering and special events at the café.
It reopened as Armley Pantry last month from 11am until 2pm every Thursday and Friday.
The building’s sale is listed under Tapp Chartered Surveyors.
The cafe was built in 1793 as a house and is the oldest standing building in Armley.
I’d love to invite Adam to a workshop in January on new food ventures – can you put us in touch?
Certainly can Imran – e-mail on its way