For the first time ever, the catering department has been able to purchase fresh produce from the Kent Community Oasis Garden (KentCOG).
Several crates of organic Swiss chard made their way to the Gulbenkian Arts Centre Café for Senior Chef, James Argent-Paine, to use in his daily specials. James used his exceptional culinary skills to produce a delicious chard soup, and an equally tasty dish of fish cakes and stir-fried chard.
The chard travelled a total distance of 1.3 kilometres (a 3-minute drive, or 15-minute walk) from plot to plate, meaning the vegetable was not only fresh and delicious, but chock-full of vitamins and minerals.
Local produce is not only tastier and healthier, but it’s also better for the environment, as it eliminates the need for fuel-intensive transportation, excessive packaging, and unnecessary preservation methods.
The KentCOG team commented that it was “so wonderful to see the food grown by students, staff and community members making its way into campus meals!”
Typically, the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown in the garden are available free of charge to volunteers, or by donation to visitors. This is the first time KentCOG has sold its produce at market value to another commercial service.
This culinary collaboration is an exciting step towards a more sustainable future at Kent.
About Kent Community Oasis Garden
Launched in September 2018, the Kent Community Oasis Garden is a multiuse space for students, staff, and the local community run in partnership with East Kent Mind. The garden provides a space for people to grow food, learn new skills, and enjoy some peace and quiet.
The garden is a pesticide free space, adopting permaculture principles and building hibernacula to look after the neighbouring creepy crawlies.
The Community Oasis Garden runs lots of different activities including ecotherapy sessions, insect talks, craft sessions, and foraging workshops.
For more information about the Kent Community Oasis Garden, please visit the Kent COG website.