Sustainable catering award

24 October 2013

Jane Powell from Organic Centre Wales (right) and Rebecca Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University enjoying some of the locally sourced food provided in the University’s restaurants.
Jane Powell from Organic Centre Wales (right) and Rebecca Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University enjoying some of the locally sourced food provided in the University’s restaurants.

Organic Centre Wales (OCW) and Aberystwyth University hosted an event on the 23rd October to celebrate the University’s recent achievement in gaining a Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark Award from the Soil Association, for all of their campus restaurants. 

The Food for Life scheme is fast becoming the industry standard for local, sustainable, ethically sourced food and recognises many of the excellent food procurement practices already taking place within the University.

The University benefits from its very own farm on site which allows the restaurants to source lamb and beef with arguably one of the shortest supply chains and lowest food miles for meat sourced on such a large scale.  Their own greenhouses supply the kitchens with fresh salad and herbs to accompany the 1000 plus hot meals served every day at the University.

Jeremy Mabbutt, Head of Hospitality Services, said: “It is a time of heightened awareness amongst consumers about where their food comes from, particularly when eating out; and this is no different for the staff and students at Aberystwyth University. 

“Sustainability has had a significant influence on our food procurement activities for some time and this has been made even easier to achieve with our very own farms at the University. By gaining the Food for Life Catering Mark we are able to demonstrate our commitment to local, sustainable sourcing and to providing excellent food every day for staff, students and visitors to the University.”

Speaking at the event Rebecca Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor of student and staff services said: “I am delighted to be able to attend this event celebrating the fantastic work by our catering and farm staff, that goes into providing excellent food to all our staff and students.

“Aberystwyth University really is unique in its ability to source meat from its very own farms and farming is part of the foundations on which Aberystwyth is built. Our menus and restaurants feature local, seasonal, exciting food which reflects our local and international communities.”

The Soils Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark has been developed to reflect best practise in healthy and sustainable meals. The scheme provides advice to caterers on how to source seasonal, local and organic produce, produced in an environmentally friendly way to high animal welfare standards.

OCW, based at Aberystwyth University has been supporting caterers across Wales to learn more about the scheme as part of their supply chain project with local organic producers and food education work with consumers. The event will feature a range of local produce, and both conventional and organic producers will be attending to discuss what sustainable sourcing means to them.

Speaking about their work in this area Jane Powell, OCW said, “Wales has a long standing reputation for great food, and by more organisations becoming part of the Catering Mark scheme, it will provide a healthy market for local, sustainable and better welfare food.

“We feel initiatives such as this and the organic sector is pivotal in the drive towards Wales as a sustainable food nation. We are delighted to support this event and to work within an environment where good food is available to all.” 

Organic Centre Wales (OCW) is a partnership consisting of: ADAS, The Organic Research Centre Elm Farm and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science (IBERS), Aberystwyth University.

OCW is currently delivering the Better Organic Business Links project (BOBL), funded by Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The project is designed to support the primary producer in Wales and grow the market for Welsh organic produce in a sustainable way. BOBL is also working towards growing consumer demand and more information can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/OrganicCentreWales 

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Contacts

Mrs Jenny Mills, Communications Officer, BOBL 
01970 823029, jem25@aber.ac.uk