Gobble Gobble Up Sustainable Food

[Greener Museums Newsletter] Gobble Gobble Up Sustainable Food

Sent Wednesday, November 23, 2011


With a burst of cold air we are properly into autumn! I’ve been in

the US for several weeks, operating Greener Museums virtually from

the East Coast. (If you have been wondering why my e-mail responses

have been a bit slow, that’s why). It’s Thanksgiving this week in

the USA, so in honour of the holiday this edition focuses on

sustainable food. We’ll also have a look at some early successes

coming out of Cohort 2 of the Greener Museums Sustainability

Leadership Programme.


To your greener future,


Rachel Madan, Director of Greener Museums



Here’s what’s in this issue:


Case Study: The Brantwood Trust

Feature Article: Gobble Gobble Up Sustainable Food

Recommended Reading

About Rachel Madan


Best wishes,


Case Study: The Brantwood Trust

This is the second year that Greener Museums is running the Greener

Museums Sustainability Leadership Programme on behalf of

Renaissance North West. Last year’s programme saved participants a

total of nearly £300,000 and created £621,000 of social and

environmental value.


Even though we are halfway through our second cohort, I’m pleased

to be able to share with you some early success stories. Of course,

more are on the way!


Brantwood is the former home of John Ruskin, eminent Victorian

writer, art critic, artist and social reformer. It operates as a

charitable trust, registered museum and visitor attraction. Rachel

Litten is the general manager and

Brantwood’s participant. Rachel is involved in all aspects of the

business. She has specific responsibility for front of house

operations, marketing, event management, exhibition programme,

health & safety, volunteers, admin, house maintenance.


In the spirit of Ruskin, a pioneering conservationist, Brantwood

was already making every effort to be green. However, there are

limits due to the nature of their grade 2 listed building, and

energy consumption is a real issue for for the trust.


After completing half of the Greener Museums Sustainability

Leadership Programme, Rachel sent me this note:

We reduced Brantwood’s waste to landfill by 50% as I have arranged

for our waste company to deliver recycling bins for paper, card,

glass, plastic and cans.


I have replaced the lighting in Brantwood’s shop and video room

with LED making a saving on electricity usage.


In the office, I am now purchasing recycled paper for office

printing & recycled pens and sourcing bio degradable plastic


In our holiday accommodation I have purchased some eco friendly

products (shower/bath gel, hand wash, hand/body lotion) with the

facility to top up from a larger container. This reduces the amount

of plastic bottles that get thrown out.


We have staff meetings every fortnight and I always have a `Greener

Museums` item on the agenda.


I have 3 green champions, so far.

Well done, Rachel!




Gobble Gobble Up Sustainable Food



Finding ‘quick wins’ in sustainability is becoming increasingly

more challenging. However for the committed, it is relatively

straightforward to cook up a batch of sustainability; you need look

no further than your own kitchen.


Many museums large and small now provide visitors and/or employees

with snacks, meals and refreshments. While this may not immediately

seem like the place to look for sustainability, there are a number

of straightforward things any museum can do to make their catering

facilities sustainable.


Go Free


Wherever possible use sustainable food sources in your menu. This

can include free range eggs and meat, pesticide free organic foods,

and fish from sustainable sources. This is all easy to get hold of

these days from any catering supplier you use (or even supermarkets

for smaller museums).


Go Local


Food miles count. Wherever possible seek to source foods from local

suppliers and help reduce your food miles, and carbon footprint.

This can be especially easy for foods such as local milk, bread,

meats and fish, depending on where you live.


Go Recycle


It’s easier than you think to recycle your food waste. In addition

to the wealth of companies out there that collect separated food

waste, there are plenty of options to save money and compost your

own food waste. Of course, if you have green fingers (or employ a

groundsman who does) why not look in to using your compost to grow

your own produce to supply your kitchen?


For those of you worried about the expense; sustainable food

doesn’t have to cost the earth (excuse the pun, I couldn’t

resist!). Consumer interest in sustainability is increasing. Not

only are the majority of consumers prepared to pay slightly more

for quality, ethically sourced food, their interest is, in itself,

driving down the cost of sourcing such food.


Greening your catering facilities can be a quick win for your

museum, for sustainability and for your menu, and what’s more- the

food industry is doing all the hard work for you!





Recommended Reading


Check out my book!

Sustainable Museums: Strategies for the 21st Century

How can museums remain resilient in uncertain times? How can they

thrive under changing economic, legislative and cultural

conditions? In Sustainable Museums: Strategies for the 21st

Century, museum sustainability expert Rachel Madan covers new

territory for any museum that is interested in becoming more

sustainable. Learn more and buy the book on Amazon.