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 farm assured, or equivalent. We also ensure all eggs are free-range, and maximise use of fish on the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘fish to eat’ list.
We support community initiatives, both locally and globally, and also support activity undertaken by our supply chain.
All of our milk has been from East Anglian dairies since 2016, and 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, and refrigeration units use hydrocarbon refrigerant. All food waste is sent for composting, and we actively promote alternatives to using paper cups 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.
To find out more visit the group's Facebook page.
Related student societies:
- Green Growers: Find out more about permaculture and get involved with growing your own food, close to campus.
- Food Co-op: UEA Food Co-op sell organic, ethical produce at wholesale prices.
- Vegetarian Society: These guys are are a society who enjoy cooking, eating and learning about veggie food but aren’t all vegetarian!
Find out more: See our round-up of sustainable student societies
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. In July 2016, our end-of-term collection raised 20 crates of food for Norwich Foodbank – that's around half a tonne.