Oxford Food Surplus Café

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Oxford Food Surplus Café


Science, technology and the environment


Oxford Food Surplus Café is a pop-up friendly café where all are welcome to come and eat and co-create community through FOOD. They aim to help redress the imbalance in our distorted food system by reclaiming surplus food and transforming it into delicious healthy meals for all. The café want to create an inclusive space to encourage community engagement and reconnect people with the food they eat.

Mini-interview with Marta Lomza, volunteer at the Oxford Food Surplus Café

What inspired you to volunteer for the Oxford Food Surplus Café?

"I grew up being taught to never waste food by my very frugal grandmother, so it’s very much ingrained in me. I’ve also always loved nature and cared about the environment. As a young adult, I grew to understand all environmental and social issues as connected, and I saw anti-food waste activism as something that tackled a lot of them at once. I trained as a Love Food Hate Waste volunteer back in 2013 when I was still living in London, and when I came to Oxford I got involved in community gardening, where I met a lot of like-minded people. Some of them started the Food Surplus Café and I joined them, at first to help with cooking and serving, and later got involved in the behind-the-scenes organising."

What do you get out of your volunteering personally?

"Firstly, it’s great fun! The café days are hectic – we go to the Oxford Food Bank to pick up our ingredients (supermarket surplus food), then we plan a meal, usually some starters, mains, sides and desserts, then we cook in a big community centre kitchen, deck out the hall, set everything up, and finally serve. It’s all really energising. There are always people you’ve become friends with as well as new people, so it’s a great chance to make friends. It attracts people from different backgrounds, so our volunteers represent both ‘town’ and ‘gown’ and lots of different communities. And then seeing the hall fill out, and people sit down to tables and strike up a conversation with strangers, is so great to see. 

There’s a wonderful sense of community and of doing something which is good for people and for the planet – we’re saving food from going to the bins, but also giving people an opportunity to be part of something sociable and fun."

Do you have tips that people can use at home to reduce waste?

"Next time you cook too much food and really don’t want to eat it all, why not offer some to your neighbour? It might feel a bit funny at first but they’ll probably appreciate it – and you might make a new friend!"

Back to Food Waste Exhibition




Marta Lomza


Museum of Oxford


Tina Eyre

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