[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
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
About Rachel Madan
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
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
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).
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.
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!
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.