Homerton College Conference and Catering department have received the Silver standard business award for their work towards food sustainability. Homerton is the largest of the University of Cambridge colleges offering on-site accommodation across all three years of undergraduate students, as well as graduates and conference guests outside of term time. With such a large number of residents and one of the most grand dining halls in the University, Homerton College is catering a great many meals each week and it is wonderful that sustainability is at the heart of this catering team.
Homerton College has a comprehensive sustainable food policy. A large proportion of fresh vegetables and meat are sourced seasonally and locally from farms in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia while sustainable fish is sourced from the North Sea. Animal welfare is considered with all meat being RSPCA farm assured. Produce from further afield such as tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate is certified Fairtrade. The College is lucky to have an orchard within the grounds and so apple juice served at Homerton is home-grown!
As well as thinking about where food comes from, the catering department at Homerton College has factored in healthy options, offering juices and healthy snacks in the Buttery along with a healthy vending machine. Material waste is high on the agenda too with the majority of packaged food and snacks being supplied using recyclable materials. Great effort has been made to remove single use plastic from the College by serving drinking water in refillable glass bottles, doing away with straws and incentivising ‘bring your own mug’ for tea and coffee served in the Buttery.
The catering and conference team operate with great consideration for sustainable food and are keen to share their commitment with students through informative posters around the dining hall. Suppliers are invited to visit the college to teach students more about their produce and college chefs hold cookery lessons to support students in making their own meals too.
With all of this fantastic effort to promote sustainability, Homerton College has made pledges to work with Cambridge Sustainable Food to do even more in the next two years. We will be working together to look at meat reduction and reducing food waste not just with the Gold award in mind but with a very strong commitment to sustainable food.