Minimising our impact
The way we approach everything here, is to consider each decision and work out what is the most sustainable option. Hospitality has historically been an industry seen for high waste, however we do our utmost here at the Homestead to minimise our impact on the planet in each choice that we make.
One of the benefits of having a small and fluid menu is that we can adapt in a way that means little to no food waste. We will run with a dish until the components are used up, even if this occasionally means switching out what fish we use between a lunch and dinner service!
Other things we do include:
- All raw fruit and vegetable scraps go into one of our big compost heaps at the bottom of the garden, these are rotated and we use the end product on our organic vegetable beds
- If we have an abundance of something, our chefs get creative with pickling, preserving and getting creative with new dishes to include the ingredient.
- Cooked food that is surplus will get sent home either with staff, or I have been known to send a customer home with a Tupperware of spare roast potatoes on a Sunday!
Our tips for you at home
Try to get creative with your cooking, one of the simplest ways to avoid food waste is to learn how to incorporate leftovers into your next meal. Or if you see something is starting to lose its freshness, lots of things can be frozen. Try making a soffritto (a mixture of base vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots) and freeze it. There is plenty of guidance online for how to do this.
Alongside all the usual recycling protocols, such as our council collection of paper, cardboard, glass, tins, hard plastics, we try to look at other items we find ourselves with in the restaurant and find other uses for them.
Here are some examples:
- We send all the ends of candles that are too small to burn to a great initiative called the Recycled Candle Company. They melt down all their donations and make new candles. We will shortly be setting ourselves up as a local drop off point, so watch this space.
- All the corks from wines get saved and donated to a social enterprise called Re-Corked
- We print our own menus, and as they change fairly often, we do end up with waste card. However, with two budding artist toddlers in residence, they get to use these for all their art projects, and yes even my Mother’s Day card was an old menu!
- Soft plastics aren’t currently collected by the council, however there is a drop off point at our local Co-op so this gets taken there. You can check here if you have a local drop off
Our tips for you at home
If you find yourself with items that can’t be recycled in the council bins, seek out other options such as local craft groups, schools, playgroups. They may be very grateful for bits and bobs to use! Other things to consider for textiles is local animal shelters who may appreciate it as bedding for their residents.
At every step of the way, we try to consider how to minimise our impact on the environment. Here are some things we have done so far.
- In both the restaurant and our holiday cottage, all our hand soaps are in glass bottles that can be refilled. We get the most delicious product from Chapter Organics who are based not too far away in Wetherby.
- We also buy all our eco cleaning products in bulk containers and top these up as we go.
- Our toilet rolls and blue rolls are all recycled, and made in the UK by a company called Serious Tissues. They also sell plastic free laundry strips, which is what we use for our restaurant napkins.
- Thrifting is a genuine love of mine. We try to source all our furniture and interiors second hand, and I am proud to say that in this first 18 months we have only had to buy 6 new chairs for the restaurant – all others were found on facebook or in local charity shops.
- We are supporting the fight to keep our local bus service, the Coastliner 840. It is a crucial lifeline for many people, and it would be such a shame to lose it. You can read more about that in our blog.
Food and Drink Mileage
When we were putting together our business plan for this venture, one of the key things we wanted to create was a living, breathing business model, one that respects the land we use, and also supports the small scale producers and local businesses around us.
We aim to source as much as possible from local suppliers, and supplement this with produce we grow here in our own kitchen garden.
What we do here:
- We grow a good selection of organic vegetables in our raised beds which you can see from the restaurant window.
- We work hard to use companion planting to support the success of our produce, and avoid using any pesticides on anything.
- We inherited a couple of fruit trees when we bought the property, and are just about to plant more to create a small orchard on site.
- Around the side of the vegetables we have plans to create a foraging meadow, with plenty of edible plants and wild flowers for the bees and insects.
- There is an existing underground rainwater collection tank at the property, we just need to figure out hooking up a submersible pump again and we should be able to use all this saved water for the garden,
- Inside the restaurant we love to have fresh flowers, however we don’t like to buy any that have been grown overseas and all the associated mileage. We are continuing to add to our gardens so we have plenty of flowers for cutting.
Our tips for you at home
Do you ever look at where your food has come from? Over time we have become accustomed to having access to everything and anything all year round, but at what cost? See if you can source your food from local suppliers, and aside from saving energy, I guarantee it will taste so much better!
Sustainability for us isn’t exclusively about the environment, it also means bringing a sustainable business to the village. Yes, we want to offer people a place to come and eat, and a place to stay, but it is so much more than that… we want to bring people together in a real way, and provide a thriving community of people who enjoy connecting through crafts, conversation, nature, and of course… food.
Here are some of the things we are doing:
- Each month we host a social walk, which is for anyone to book on to. We take you out for a 2 hour walk round the village, returning to the restaurant to share a 2 course lunch. You can read more about this on our dedicated page.
- Every now and then we also host guests to run a workshop in the restaurant space, and this is also followed by lunch. So far we have done weaving, gardening, and currently planning a watercolour workshop. Information about this can be found on our Events page.
- We are fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated team of staff, most of whom have been with us from day one. We wouldn’t be where we are without them, and their hard work and passion is a credit to them. We are proud members of the Living Wage Foundation, this means we have made a commitment to paying our staff the real cost of living, as opposed to any government set minimum wages. You can read more about our pledge in this blog post.
As with everything in life, our sustainability mission is always changing and developing. We have learnt so much already in our first 18 months, and know there is so much more that we can be doing, but feel positive that with small steps we can get there.