Why we champion sustainable food

A combine empties its load of spelt at Wimpole Home Farm

Join us in celebrating our love of quality, fresh and seasonal local food with this year's British Food Fortnight from 19 September - 4 October 2020.

Food is much more than what we eat. It shapes our lives – our health and well-being, our culture, our natural environment, our security and prosperity. Food is a true measure of our approach to life itself, as individuals and as a society.

However, today we’ve become emotionally and physically disconnected from how food is produced, and we're losing the skills to grow our own and cook it. This means it's hard to see what the most healthy and sustainable options are. It’s also clear that our food system is facing challenges from climate change, population growth, and depletion of natural resources, meaning it must adapt radically to meet the realities of the 21st century.

As the country’s largest owner of farmland, numerous kitchen gardens and with over 200 cafés at our places, we’re committed to playing our part to build a more resilient, efficient and lower-impact food system. Over the last decade we’ve been on a journey to make the food we grow and serve more enjoyable, more sustainable, and better connected to the places we look after. We’re continually striving to produce and sell food that benefits everyone and the environment. To ensure this, we’re mindful of every stage of the food chain, from sowing the seeds and looking after the animals, to cooking and serving seasonal produce. And where we can, we include produce from our tenant farmers and kitchen gardens in the dishes we serve in our cafés.

Farming

We're making a greater effort to manage the impact of farming on the environment and rural communities by working closely with our tenant farmers to support their farming methods. We’re keen to encourage viable farms with high standards of food production, environmental management and animal welfare. And where we can, we include produce from our tenant farmers in the dishes we serve in our cafés.

Meet the tenant farmers

Video

Meet Tyntesfield's dairy farmers

Many of the cows you see on the Tyntesfield Estate, near Bristol, belong to Alvis Brothers Ltd. The cheddar cheese they produce makes its way into our famous cheese scones. This Somerset farm is also not too far from Cheddar itself. Meet the cows who produce it and the family of humans who look after them in our behind the scenes video.

Staff member picking apples for the harvest

Autumn feasts and farming 

We’re passionate about local, seasonal food. Discover how we’re working with our tenant farmers to serve up sustainably produced food in our cafés. And for foodie inspiration at home, take a look at some of our delicious seasonal recipes.

Growing

We’ve really come to appreciate the benefits of growing and eating seasonal food. This helps to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of our restored kitchen gardens, glass-houses and orchards that produce ingredients our chefs use in our cafés. Also, discover what you can grow in your own space.

Sourcing

It's important that we work with local suppliers. While they provide us with fresh and seasonal produce, they also have the added benefit of minimising the road miles of the ingredients we use. This therefore further supports our desire to reduce our environmental impact and increase our sustainability.

" It’s key that we support British farming, so our sourcing standards ensure that all the meat, poultry and season fruit and veg we buy is from UK farms."
- Richard Broadribb, Head of F&B Sourcing

Browse our food reports and policies (PDFs)