Rhyd-y-creuau has been working hard developing our shared ethos of positive action for the environment. We ran a Centre-wide sustainability day in February 2016, allowing us to highlight shared hopes with action for our Centre and beyond; we have gained momentum ever since. In addition, we have joined forces with three sustainability coordinators, representing our education, hospitality, and office teams. Sowing new seeds in spring 2016 has created a chance to re-establish an edible garden and bring life back into our biodiversity garden. Already we are using the fresh and delicious produce of our vegetable gardens in our kitchen. Crunchy, peppery radishes and exotic pak-choi are already being enjoyed by some lucky staff and students. Local food is not always low carbon, due to the intensive nature of farming in Britain, and a reliance on high levels of inputs. Our vegetables are low carbon, low input, biodiversity friendly and the gardening is good for staff health and well-being.
- Lynn Munro, Education Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainable Food Production – The Biodiversity Garden
The RYC sustainability team renovating the vegetable plots
The Rhyd-y-creuau team have worked hard to update our Biodiversity Garden this year, renovating and growing produce with help from staff across the Centre. New fruits and vegetables have been planted for use in our kitchens and with our groups, including potatoes, onions, raspberries and rhubarb. After a few months, we have produced low-carbon rhubarb, pak-choi, chives, potatoes and radishes for use in our kitchen dishes, enjoyed by staff and students alike.
Fresh pak-choi from the greenhouse (left), Outdoor planters full of herbs (right)
The aim of this renovation is to serve home grown produce to visiting groups whilst providing a home for wildlife in our grounds. Long term plans will see visiting groups working alongside our team in the garden, getting to try their hand at composting and harvesting, as well as picking herbs from our herb planters. This will give our groups the opportunity to see first-hand where their food comes from, witnessing the link between field and fork with sustainable production.
Separate food waste bins in our kitchen and dining room
At Rhyd-y-creuau we aim to waste as little as possible. To help reduce the amount of food waste produced, we have separate food waste bins in our dining room for students to empty their leftovers into during mealtimes.
Any food that is wasted is collected by Conwy County Council in a special food waste lorry. This is then driven to Anglesey, where the majority of our food waste is shredded and mixed with garden waste before being composted. The end product is eventually reused as soil conditioner. However, some of our food waste is transported by the Council to Shropshire, where it is used to generate electricity. By separating our waste this way, we ensure the energy that goes into growing and producing our food is not wasted.
Any unserved portions of food are reheated and served the next day for staff lunches. Leftovers such as rice or pasta are also added into our range of packed lunch fillings for visiting students. Other leftovers such as spare fruits are added into our desserts, such as our delicious apple crumble!
To minimise the amount of fresh food going to waste, we order in to cater for the numbers and requirements of our students, with our local suppliers providing regular deliveries through the week. This way we are able to serve fresh foods to our visitors on a daily basis with minimal food waste.