Food

The University is committed to delivering sustainable and nutritious food to all students, staff and other customers that visit our outlets across all three of our campuses. It is recognised for its best practice through the certifications it has been awarded and through the EAUC’s 2016 Green Gown Awards and again in the 2018 Green Gown Awards where it is a finalist in the Food & Drink Category (click for further info about this initiative).

The University has outlined its commitments to Sustainable Food (Policy) and Fairtrade (Policy) products in it policies  to ensure that over the next two years we strive to increase the quality of the food served at the University, and reduce the impact that the products we buy have on the environment. These policies are reviewed annually via the Sustainable Food Steering Group and progress is reported annually to the Sustainability Management Board.

We have been an accredited Fairtrade University since 2011 and in 2015 all our catering outlets and menus were Food for Life Gold certified for the first time and have all been recertified since. The university not only buys Fairtrade food, cotton uniforms used by our caterers also are Fairtrade certified as evidenced in our Fairtrade University submission.

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We have been awarded Food For Life Gold for the work the University’s caterers BaxterStorey have undertaken to ensure we provide foods that are responsibly and ethically sourced. Sodexo also recently won this award for the foods provided through The Dome at Avery Hill. We are one of handful of  universities in the UK to achieve Gold for all their outlets (8 outlets in total including Sodexo’s Dome), plus our hospitality menus and the University is very proud of these achievements and are grateful for the brilliant work of our caterers and hospitality staff.

What does Gold mean for you? Find out here!

We also seek to use our buying power as a University to support local producers and businesses (& case study) through working with our partners BaxterStorey, Sodexo and The Student’s Union University of Greenwich who deliver catering at our sites.

We are proud to only provide MSC certified seafood in all our outlets and on our hospitality menus and in 2014 were awarded MSC’s University of the Year.

To help reduce single use plastics (and help our students and staff save money) we have free water available though water fountains across our campuses and also in dispensers at all of our catering outlets including the Dome at Avery Hill.

Sustainable food progress is reported annually by the Chair of the Sustainable Food Steering Group to the Sustainability Management Board.

We are also proud to have a volunteer run Community Edible Garden at our Southwood site. This 1/4 hectare psace includes a plolynunnel, raised beds and two large forest gardens. Further information and to get involved click here.

Some of our commitments and actions include:

  • To continue to provide and increase sustainable food offerings in catering outlets and hospitality menus
  • To ensure that we communicate and engage with students, staff and other customers as well as suppliers on our commitment to serving sustainable food
  • Ensure that our caterers baseline and regularly audit their consumption of goods and materials in order to increase and maintain usage of sustainable goods
  • To enhance employee awareness of relevant environmental, social and nutritional effects of procurement through appropriate training, via induction and in continuing professional development
  • To maintain our Fairtrade University status as well our Soil Association Catering Mark
  • Supporting local sustainable food projects such as Good Food in Greenwich we continue (with our catering providers) to support and promote Sugar Smart through our outlets, via our catering offers to our customers. We have continued to support this group by for example providing  rooms for meetings and other initiatives and offering for free catering equipment that is no longer needed to GFiG members
  • The University is supporting and working with the Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency  to develop new markets for cassava in the UK for example illustrated here  and here
  • To maintain our MSC certification in all of our outlets
  • We have 14 bee hives located on our university estates and staff are trained as beekeepers to manage the four hives at our Stockwell Street Building
  • Our Queen Mary Cafe is one of a small number of cafe’s in the UK to go completely disposable cup free!
  • We are proud to highlight the sustainability of our catering menu offers
  • Ensure that sustainability specifications and commitment to our policies are included in all catering contracts/tenders and that sustainability criteria are considered in the awarding of contracts, for example ISO 14001
  • Ensure all catering outlets uphold the criteria and standards outlined in the University’s Sustainability Management System
  • The Head of Catering and Events is the Chair of the Sustainable Food Steering group and reports annually to the University’s Sustainability Management Board.
  • To continue to share food from our Avery Hill Edible Garden with our caterers and local community and to work with the Union to get this fresh food in the student shop. Find out more about our garden here
  • Our HR team co-ordinate regular collections of foodstuffs that are donated to the Bexley Food Bank. We also engage very closely with our student hall residents to undertake a large collection at the end of term. In 2017/8 this totaled 150Kg of food donations from students.

Free Water:

Did you know: You can get free tap water at every outlet! Just bring along your bottle and fill up or grab a glass and enjoy! Look out for water points like this at all our outlets: (at all outlets apart from the Dome look out for the water jar on the left and at the Dome look out for the red topped jugs).

 

Water fountains can be found in: Greenwich:  Stockwell Street Library, Dreadnought, Atrium (inside Romney Road entrance and Lower Deck), Medway: Pembroke (ground outside cafe) three in Drill Hall Library, one  in the Medway sports hall reception area, 1 in Pilkington café seating area, outside Greengages cafe,  Avery Hill Mansion Reception, Dome Gym, David Fussey Sports Hall Reception

Did you also know: That you can ‘grow your own’ at Avery Hill’s Southwood Site Community Edible Garden. Students and staff and welcome to volunteer and learn how to grow fruit and veg, make friends get some exercise and fresh air. Interested? – We bet you are!  Follow this link for more information.

We ensure we constantly improve our responsibility of food procurement, preparation and sale. Evidence of this can be seen in our exacting catering tendering requirements focusing on sustainability provision in the service (see excerpt of specific sustainability section of 2017 catering tender. Note other sustainability requirements were integrated throughout the rest of the tender.).

We are proud to collaborate and partner with local initiatives and in 2017 signed up to Greenwich’s Sugar Smart initiative.

For more information on sustainable food at the University please contact the group through sustainability@gre.ac.uk

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Examples of the organic ingredients incorporated in recipe’s at Sodexo’s Dome Restaurant at our Southwood Site.

University of Greenwich Sustainability Blog