University of Bristol: Becoming a Going for Gold Champion

This month the University of Bristol has been recognised as a Going for Gold Champion for its work across all the #GoingForGoldBristol action areas. In this blog, postgraduate student Ellen McKee who is interning with the University’s Sustainability Department describes some of the Gold-star food sustainability work being done across the University.

As a postgraduate student who has just finished a Masters in Environmental Policy and Management and with a passion for sustainability in every sense of the word, I’m excited to be interning for the University’s Sustainability Department while so much amazing work is undertaken to promote sustainable food in Bristol. The University is only the second organisation to achieve a Going for Gold Champion status in Bristol! This accolade recognises that UoB has successfully taken action in all six Going for Gold action areas…

Buying Better

All food procurement decisions by UoB are made in line with the University’s ‘Ethics and Sustainable Food Policy’. All suppliers are nominated and regulated through the University’s membership of The University Caterers Organisation and the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium. In addition to this, all menus within catered halls meet healthy living guidelines meaning that the food provided by the University is not only improving the health of staff, students and visitors, but is also maintaining the health of the planet.

Food Waste

UoB operates under a ‘Food Waste Policy’ which helps minimise food waste produced through the University’s operations as much as possible. Any food waste which is made is taken to GenEco, a local company which anaerobically digests the food waste into compost and energy to power local homes. There is also a growing movement amongst UoB’s student population to minimise food waste. For example, a student group runs a campaign called ‘Just Eat It’ where food waste reduction is promoted through reclaimed food cafes and workshops.

Urban Growing

Across the University there are multiple urban growing projects taking place such as the beautiful community garden outside the Life Sciences Building, several allotments, kitchen herb gardens and orchards with heritage apple species. These spaces not only present a space to grow delicious food right in the middle of the University’s campus but also gives staff and students a place to have a break and relax amongst nature therefore helping boost the wellbeing of the University’s community.

Community Action

UoB helps run the Bristol Big Give Campaign every year, collecting leftover food and unwanted reusable items from student halls of residences. The 2018/2019 academic year saw 2000 items of food donated to the North Bristol Food Bank. These donations will help the hundreds of families living in Bristol needing emergency food supplies.

Eating Better

This academic year, UoB is launching ‘Meatless Mondays’ within all catered halls. This reduction in meat consumption is a great way to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet: a reduction in carbon emissions from food production and the health benefits which can come with reducing meat consumption.

Food Equality

UoB is currently working towards gaining a Fairtrade University Award by choosing to provide Fairtrade products across hospitality and catering services, as well as promoting the importance of supporting supply chains which provide farmers a fair price for their produce. This year, the University was awarded three Silver awards in the South West Fairtrade Business Awards for our commitment to promoting and using Fairtrade products across our operations!

There are so many more actions taking place across UoB – more than we can mention here. If you are part of UoB and would like to get involved or are already doing some work with sustainable food please contact: sustainability-estates@bristol.ac.uk or message the Sustainability Department’s Facebook page.

Or if you are from a different organisation which is yet to get involved, why not sign up to the campaign now?

Ellen McKee is a postgraduate student interning with the University of Bristol Sustainability Department. The University of Bristol’s Sustainability Department is working towards embedding sustainability within everything the University does from sustainable food procurement to carbon emission reductions.

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