RSPB Cymru cafés win prestigious national award for their fresh, local food

Eleri Wynne

Friday 11 August 2017

Wildlife friendly produce is on the menu at RSPB Conwy, South Stack and Newport Wetlands

Er mwyn darllen y datganiad yma yng Nghymraeg cliciwch yma os gwelwch yn dda

Visitors to the cafés at RSPB Conwy, South Stack and Newport Wetlands can be assured that fresh local, and honest food is on the menu after the venues, respectively, achieved two Bronze and one Gold Food for Life Served Here award from the Soil Association. The Welsh reserves are three of 11 RSPB nature reserves to achieve a Served Here award, with the charity holding nine Bronze and two Gold awards in total across the UK.

As a conservation charity, the RSPB is keen to lead by example when it comes to serving food that makes a difference to our natural environment. This means reducing the impact of nature reserve catering on the environment, for example cutting the high carbon emissions usually involved in transporting food over long distances.

It’s easy to see how RSPB Newport Wetlands earned its Gold award, with the reserve’s café serving organic eggs, bacon and sausage from family run farms in the Ystwyth valley and the Taff Bargoed valley. This has enabled the reserve to serve high quality produce and support local Welsh businesses - even the cookies and flapjacks are made by local company, The Flapjack Fairy. 

Visitors can experience the true taste of Anglesey at the RSPB South Stack café, with a range of mouth watering meals made from locally sourced award winning suppliers. Fresh meals are cooked daily, from bara brith baked on site to the Catering Manager’s very own minted lamb burgers, made with locally sourced meat. The theme of local procurement continues at RSPB Conwy with the reserve’s delicious cakes, made by local company, Food for Thought, which in addition use Fair Trade ingredients.

RSPB Cymru Head of Reserves, Lewis James, said: “With 84% of Wales now farmed we can easily see what a huge influence farming has on nature and the food we eat. When we see where our food comes from, we realise what a big impact it can have on our wildlife.  

“We’re delighted that RSPB Conwy, RSPB South Stack and RSPB Newport Wetlands have received this recognition from the Soil Association, which celebrates our hard work to ensure we produce ethically sourced food and wherever possible, healthy and organic local produce. The award is the perfect way to show how food, farming and nature can work in unison and how we can easily adapt our food system to support a countryside full of wildlife.”

To attain the Bronze award, cafés need to have reached a certain set of standards. At least three quarters of the food on the menus should be freshly prepared on site or in a local kitchen. All meat served must be from farms which meet, as a minimum, the UK’s welfare standards. Due to its environmental impact, the RSPB aims to reduce the amount of meat consumed by offering tasty alternatives, however meat on the Food for Life Served Here café menus is UK farm assured through the Red Tractor scheme. 

Eggs should be from free range hens and menus must be free of any endangered fish featured on the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘fish to avoid’ list. Food is also free from additives like aspartame, MSG, artificial trans fats and GM ingredients. Finally, seasonal ingredients produced outdoors in the UK are used in the menus. To gain the Gold award, at least 15% of ingredients used by a café must be organic. 

In addition to the Served Here awards, RSPB Conwy’s café serves ethically sourced bird-friendly coffee. Produced by a farmers’ co-operative in Nicaragua, the coffee plants are grown beneath the forest canopy, ensuring that the habitat remains intact for many thousands of migrant birds, such as golden-winged warblers and northern waterthrush.  

Rich Watts, Senior Food for Life Served Here Manager at the Soil Association, said: “Food for Life Served Here is seeing real growth across the visitor attraction sector, with caterers recognising that visitors place real value on eating local, fresh and honest food – the award is a great way to demonstrate a commitment to honest, ethical and sustainable food and also helps venues to reduce their environmental impact by looking closer to home for produce.”

Last Updated: Monday 14 August 2017

Tagged with: Country: Wales Topic: Wales Topic: Conwy Topic: Newport Wetlands Topic: South Stack Cliffs