Showcasing Local Produce, and promoting healthier options
The food we consume accounts for around 30% of the UK’s carbon footprint, according to Sustain, WWF and the Food Climate Research Network.
Universities have a significant role to play in the food chain, as procurers and providers of food to over 2 million students each year. We are committed to producing food in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. We also know that it’s one of our responsibilities to encourage healthy and sustainable food production and consumption. This applies to all catering managed by the University, and we use our experience to spread good practice across campus.
We have outlined three main areas to ensure our catering practices are sustainable:
We are focused, together with our partners and suppliers, on offering a wide choice of quality products, including healthy and certified alternatives. All our livestock produce (meat, dairy, eggs) is, as a minimum, Red Tractor assured and prefer RSPCA Assured. We also ensure all whole fresh eggs are free-range. We are eliminating the use of fish from the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Fish to Avoid’ list, and where possible aim to only serve fish with a ‘best choices’ rating from the MCS Good Fish Guide. We aim to reduce the number of products we serve or sell in retail outlets that contain palm oil or palm oil derivatives.
We support community initiatives, both locally and globally, and also support activity undertaken by our supply chain.
We aim to identify products and practices that can be changed to improve the nutritional value of our food (e.g. using healthier cooking oils and cooking methods). Central Procurement are trying to be pro-active in the areas that they assess. They recently contacted some of our farmers to ask about the use of antibiotics in their supply chain. Antibiotic resistance has become a big issue, and use of antibiotics in the food chain is believed to contribute to this.
We are dedicated to minimising our consumption of non-renewable and environmentally sensitive resources. When replacing equipment, we ensure replacement catering equipment is the most energy and water efficient available. All food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion, and we actively promote alternatives to disposables such as keep cups and mugs.
Drinking water is provided at all catering outlets and across campus: re-use your bottle instead of buying a new one to reduce your environmental impact.
The VegBox Scheme is supplied by an organic supplier in Norfolk who delivers fruit and vegetables to us every week during term time. When you order, you're guaranteed to get local, seasonal, fresh and healthy produce, while supporting your local farmer rather than a big chain supermarket.
The group takes orders in advance, and collections are weekly.
Related student societies:
- Food Co-op: UEA Food Co-op sell organic, ethical produce at wholesale prices.
- UEA Sustainability Society: a group of students with a passion for making our planet a better, greener place for all. They have a community-driven, self-sustained plant swapping group which aims to work as a hub for free sharing of plants and houseplants for UEA students.
- PhDiggers: a gardening group for postgraduates which launched in May 2019. The group have secured access to five UEA allotments on site so that postgrads can grow a variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and other plants.
- UEA Plant Enthusiasts: an opportunity for those who have a green thumb to come together and share the passion for plants together. This society is open to all students no matter your expertise in gardening.
Supporting the wider local community
Norwich Foodbank provides emergency food for local people in crisis.
We collect unwanted, in-date and sealed foodstuffs at the end of each academic year to support this charity.
- 2018: 878kg (enough to provide the equivalent of 117 food parcels for local people who are in crisis, each providing 3 days of food)
- 2019: 1,139kg (142 parcels)
- 2020: no donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic