One of the positive aspects of lockdown has been the increased appreciation of Nature. Take bird song for example, it’s always been there but we haven’t always noticed it or listened to it. It’s generally been drowned out by the background noise from traffic and planes, or we’ve all just been too busy, being busy, to be aware of it. And yet with the gift of time to be aware, more people have realised just how beautiful birdsong is and just how important the natural world is to our well-being.
We’ve shopped local too. Not just to enjoy fresh produce from local suppliers but also to support local businesses, helping them to survive. Realising that we need the sense of community that their presence brings. It has also brought about a deeper realisation that we need to do more to protect our precious planet. As we edge ever closer to life returning to a near normal state. doing so in a sustainable way is an important consideration. The good news is that a post-lockdown survey by the Sustainable Restaurant Association found that 98% of operators are willing and able to focus on both environmental and social sustainability when they re-open.
Many of our Secret Spaces venues are rightly proud of their sustainable credentials from the use of bio-mass fuels to recyclable packaging and recognised accreditations, they are doing all they can to consider the environment and their impact upon it.
Renewable energy sources at Hillside Brewery
Paul Williamson at Hillside Brewery believes that actions speak louder than words when it comes to protecting the environment. Powered by 100% renewable energy sources: solar power, air & ground source heat pumps, the Brewery constantly looks for way to reduce and recycle waste across all of its operations. Perhaps the tastiest example of this being spent is hops and grain being used as feed for local dairy cattle whose milk is then turned into beer ice cream by Hillbrooks Luxury Ice Cream, another local business. Yum! And the goal for 2020 is for all of packaging to be 100% recyclable or compostable.
Oxleaze Barn recognised by sustainability bodies
The Oxleaze Sustainability Promise cites a reassuring long list of the ways in which the working farm and event venue, Oxleaze Barn are putting the environment at the heart of their operation. All of the heating and hot water come from a biomass boiler run-off locally sourced wood chip, 50% of which comes from their own Woodland. Solar power supplies green electricity to 24 commercial and residential properties on the farm too. And the beautiful gardens and surrounding land are not just a pretty backdrop in a photograph but are a rich natural habitat for a number of birds, butterflies, bees, bugs and insects.
Crumplebury use lockdown to grow Green Credentials
Newly opened in November 2019, the team at Crumplebury have used the lockdown period to really take stock and map out their steps to becoming a more sustainably run venue. It was already on the agenda for the Green Cow Kitchens; the restaurant which they have been operating for eight years being known for its farm-to-fork and low food miles philosophy.
A passionate environmentalist, Megan Evans explained the steps they are taking: “We are mapping out the journey for all the waste we produce, understanding what happens to each element today and where possible, bringing the sorting process in-house to control each material’s destination. We have also taken on a new member of the team to manage our grounds and the recently installed raised beds for growing vegetables and herbs to use in the kitchens. Green waste produced from managing the grounds and selected raw food waste from Crumplebury and Green Cow Kitchens will be composted on-site using hot bins to speed up the composting process, so important nutrients can eventually be returned to the ground. We will collect rainwater around the site and harvest these stores to irrigate the grounds and kitchen garden, reducing the business’ overall water consumption. We are looking into further ways to reuse and recycle in other elements of the business, such as teaming up with other partners to convert our used cooking oil into biofuel. Our goal is to produce an environmental policy that upholds our passion and dedication to sustainability – this will play an important role in establishing the culture of the business going forward.”
All of this aligns with the overall sustainability mission of Whitbourne Estate which centres its farming and forestry operations with various countryside stewardship programmes and sustainable woodland management plan that sees a net increase of tree stocks every year.
So, if you’re planning a future event and you, or your client, care about the environment maybe now is the time to start to consider the sustainable credentials of your venue choice.