We’re very lucky to have our café in such a beautiful setting, and feel very aware of the importance of doing our best to limit our negative impact on the environment. Eating out doesn’t have to be less environmentally-friendly than cooking at home – after all, we’re cooking in batches, on partly solar-powered super-efficient electric induction hobs, often with food that has travelled just a few metres.
So to make sure we’re doing the best we can, we focus on sourcing, limiting waste and single use products, disposing of waste responsibly, and helping our customers to do their bit too.
We have a target to use just half a black bin bag of unrecyclable waste per day. To meet this, we have a sustainability strategy, with measurable targets that we work towards, and a monthly Operations Meeting with representatives from across the Farm, sharing ideas and successes between departments, and making small steps that add up to big changes.
Of course we have all the usual recycling – everything from order tickets to hand towels, ice cream tubs, tetrapaks, cans, foil, bottles and jars and plastic. We re-use where we can too, so the bags our bread is delivered in become bin liners, punnets and egg boxes are reused for farm produce, some plastics that aren’t collected by contractors get taken to our local supermarket who send them for recycling.
In addition we have a huge composting system on site, which benefits the soil that feeds our lovely produce. Leftovers from plates are closely monitored to check we have our portion sizes right, and any uneaten food is collected for anaerobic digestion. This goes with our Vegware packaging used for salads and homemade houmous and dips. We use beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm wherever it would do as good a job. We are also an Ellacycle collection point, where you can deposit any brand of baby food pouch – please bring them in fully squeezed out and with the lid on tight to make this a more pleasant job for us!
Other things we’ve achieved:
- removed single-use takeaway cups and incentivize reusables
- removed single-use juice cartons and straws, replacing them with bag-in-box juices or homemade milkshakes served in reusable cups
- use as much organic and Fairtrade produce as we can, including all the produce grown on the farm
- put fresh produce at the heart of the menu and only use high welfare meat, including all the meat we rear here
- encouraged customers to use fewer disposable wet wipes by providing washable cloth wipes
- use a system of colour-coded washable cleaning cloths to reduce our blue roll use
- switched our herbal teas over to loose-leaf herbs, saving paper sachets and cardboard boxes, while serving better tasting teas in the process
Our approach to becoming an environmentally sustainable business is always evolving and we welcome all contributions to the discussion. We’re always on the lookout for ways to improve and are proud to have been awarded three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, who provide a clear framework to help us set and meet our targets.
Our 3-year Sustainability Strategy outlines our future targets:
- use only farm-reared meat on our menu, adding lots of delicious veggie, vegan or veg-forward options to tempt meat-eaters to try something new
- switch all our teas over to loose-leaf to save packaging and serve better tea!
- find a drop-off point for any plastics we can’t currently recycle
- monitor and reduce our food waste, separating it into prep waste, plate waste and spoilage so we know which are to target for reduction
- monitor and reduce our water and energy use
We’ll continue to make switches and substitutions that help protect the lovely environment we can see out the window, and around the world too.