In honour of National Vegetarian Week, on Wednesday 17th May, Franco Manca gave out free vegetable pizzas. There was just one catch: you had to exchange vegetables for your pizza.

Confused? Don’t be. This genius initiative was run in collaboration with The People’s Fridge – and that’s where all the vegetables collected went.

The People’s Fridge is a community fridge where people and businesses can leave food and anyone in need can take it. There’s no quota to be filled and no forms to be signed – if you’re in need, it’s there for you. It runs purely on trust and goodwill and it works extremely well!

One of the perks of living in London is that there is nearly always a restaurant near you – and so after hearing about the “free pizza day,” I grabbed a friend, took some time out of revision and headed over to the East Dulwich branch of Franco Manca.

We felt a bit stupid carrying bags of vegetables into a pizza place but the moment the waitress saw them, she grinned and asked “Are you here for the vegetable pizza?” And so we handed over all of the veg we’d brought with us and off we went!

1. Bring All The Veg You Can Spare

It was for a good cause so Jayde and I popped down to Sainsbury’s and grabbed a substantial amount of veg since both of our fridges were looking pretty sad and empty. We decided to go in bulk and ended up with 2kg of carrots, 1kg of onions, 1kg of peppers, 1kg of potatoes and a broccoli between us.

It wasn’t imperative to bring that much – a group of girls who entered the pizzeria just before us only brought one item each – but as I said, it was for a good cause, so most people that we saw were quite generous.

2. Pick Your Pizza

We handed over our bag of vegetables in exchange for a menu each. There was a choice of three pizzas you could have: number 1 (tomato, garlic and oregano), number 2 (tomato, mozzarella and basil) or the veggie special. Since the whole free pizza thing was in honour of national vegetarian week, all of the meat options were off the table. I opted for the veggie special while Jayde picked number 2.

3. The Bill Is On The House

We were honestly overly happy when our pizzas turned up in heart shapes but that might have been more due to the fact that we’d both been cooped up in our rooms for far too long and the free pizza had already put us in a better mood.

We felt weird leaving without paying but we were both pretty satisfied – not only had we been given some pretty fine free pizza but we’d also donated a decent amount of food to people who needed it more than we did. By the time we returned to our residence, we were happy and feeling pretty good with ourselves.

The free pizza initiative was a great way to get people to dig into their generous side and was most certainly a generous gesture from Franco Manca. Many people who we saw eating there probably spent nearly as much on the vegetables that they donated as they would have had they just turned up and ordered a pizza. Furthermore, it spread awareness of The People’s Fridge, a fantastic but underhyped project that has been brought to light by Franco Manca.