This week, 1st-7th June, is National Volunteers Week and we are delighted that our team at Transition Cafe are nominated for a Pembrokeshire Volunteering Award. Read on to hear how our volunteer team keep the cafe running smoothly!

‘It would be impossible to run Transition Cafe if it were not for our amazing bunch of volunteers but their skills go way beyond the smooth running of a normal cafe. Transition Cafe is a not for profit enterprise which cuts food waste and saves carbon by creating fabulous meals out of perfectly good food that at one time would have been destined for landfill.

Set up in 2012, Transition Cafe prevents an average of 900+ kilos of perfectly good food per month from being disposed of as waste. This food is gathered from shops and other places and brought to the cafe by our acquisitions team . The acquisitions team are Tony, John, Mim and Ann.

Once the food has been sorted, weighed and recorded, it is pounced upon by our fabulous volunteer kitchen staff, including, Natasha, Elenor, Liz, Sarah, Stephen, A.J., Alan, and Clare. We never know what will come in each day so our cooks have to be extremely creative with whatever comes through the door.

Humble fayre like carrots, leeks and potatoes are transformed into our signature soups, quiches, Glamorgan sausages  and our delicious Gardeners Pie. What we can do with a cabbage has to be tasted to be believed!

And it’s not just everyday meals. Our volunteers can turn their hand to cheese making, jams and chutney, and, presented with 150 kilos of bananas – banana bread, banana cake, banana ice cream – and what we can’t use is relished by the pigs at Trehale farm. Pigs love bananas.

Any other cafe can buy in what they need. The skill of our volunteers is in managing a wheelbarrow of strawberries one day and on others, when surplus food supplies are short, foraging for wild ingredients like wild garlic, sea beet and nettles.

Our front of house volunteers are Toni, Maddie, Julia, Chris , Roger and Siwan. All cheerful and friendly, they make our visitors, who come from all over the world, very welcome, and provide those who ask us ‘How have you set this up?’ with lots of useful information and advice.

And finally, we musn’t forget Tom, Dave and Roger, our volunteers who repair our equipment  when things break down – what would we do without them? And Jamie and Tom, who keep the accounts, pay the bills, and make sure we don’t run out of money. And then there’s Kitty, who writes fun publicity stuff for us and things like these PAVs nominations.

Our team of volunteers are all committed to spreading the word about reducing food waste, so, in addition to running the cafe, we go to lots of local shows and events. You might have met us and been challenged to guess what’s in our Sunshine surprise cake, a lovely moist rich cake with a secret ingredient that I can reveal is …wait for it…Tomato soup. Yes, that’s right…..a delicious cake made from tomato soup – beyond its Best Before date but still perfectly OK to use!

We’re also known for hosting lots of community events in the cafe – seed and plant swaps, Folk and Jazz Festival sessions, storytelling evenings, and Funky Junk activities for kids, to name but a few. And we encourage other local groups to make use of surplus food, sharing what we can’t use with them.

So Transition Cafe is a favourite for visitors and locals alike and the work it does has contributed to a better understanding of ‘Green’ issues. Our volunteers don’t just make lovely food, but share their passion for not wasting it, gladly handing out their recipes and cookery tips to help others make the best possible use of precious food. They are definitely doing their bit for sustainability, carbon reduction and economic resilience within our community. In our view, they all deserve an award. We hope you do too!’

Here are Kitty, Siwan, Liz, AJ and John.