Cafe Lab is a zero-waste food justice cafe that aims to support insecure Melburnians and contribute to building a sustainable and low carbon hospitality sector.

  • Project dates: 2023 (ongoing)

Background 

Australia is becoming a hungry nation, with an increasing number of people experiencing poverty and food insecurity on a regular basis. These inequities are being exacerbated by the issue of food waste. 

We throw away about 7.6 million tons of food every year in Australia – a lot of which is high quality and nutritious. This waste is costing the economy billions of dollars and leading to increased carbon emissions associated with food overproduction. 

Solution 

Cafe Lab is a zero-waste food justice cafe led by RMIT Professors Tania Lewis and Martyn Hook, in conjunction with chef-activist Dr. Helen Addison-Smith, which aims to support insecure Melburnians and contribute to building a sustainable and low carbon hospitality sector. 

Located in Smith Street, Collingwood, Cafe Lab will educate RMIT staff, students and the public about the wicked problem of food waste and provide free, delicious meals using upcycled food. 

The cafe will also function as a multidisciplinary research hub, offering a venue for researchers, industry and other stakeholders to experiment with and showcase sustainable innovations. 

Support 

Cafe Lab is a cross-university, STEM and Humanities and Social Sciences project involving a diverse range of stakeholders. RMIT’s Early Career Research network is core to the project, encouraging engagement from emerging researchers across different disciplines. 
 
Partners and supporters include the Social Change Enabling Impact Platform, Terry Wu (arts and social entrepreneur), Regen Melbourne, Open Table, Cultivating Community, the William Angliss Institute, and the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre. 
 
This project is led by the School of Media and Communication, and the School of Architecture and Urban Design.

Find more details here.

Key People

Lead researchers

Café Lab

Professor Tania Lewis

Lead researcher

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Café Lab

Professor Martyn Hook

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Café Lab

Dr Helen Addison Smith

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Café Lab

Professor Lisa Given

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Related Content

News & Blog

CUR Stories

Cold storage research could put a freeze on red meat waste

25 October 2023

A new report shows inconsistent fridge temperatures and confusing cold storage advice could be contributing to meat waste in Aussie households.