This year we’re partnering with the Oxford Real Farming Conference for the annual ORFC Dinner on the evening of Tuesday 6th January, at Oxford Town Hall. The meal for more than 200 conference guests will showcase our region’s food producers and chefs. We’re producing some leaflets to tell diners all about the food they’re eating – here’s a preview of what they’ll say:
Oxford Food Stats:
- Every year, people in Oxford consume some 130,000 tonnes of food, spending around £450 million in the process.
- Less than 1% of this food comes from within Oxfordshire, from a network of small-scale producers, markets and enterprises.
- It takes 53,000 hectares of land to feed the city, equivalent to a circle extending 13km outwards from the Town Hall.
- Our food consumption requires 398 million tonnes of water every year, and 6 million gigajoules of energy – and it releases 380,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent, more than double the annual emissions from all of our cars.
- By eating differently and wasting less, we could reduce our land footprint by 40%, our water use by 25% and our energy use by 30%, and we could shave 1/3 off our greenhouse gas emissions.
Source: FoodPrinting Oxford report, available at www.goodfoodoxford.org.
ABOUT THE PRODUCERS
VEGETABLES provided by CULTIVATE OXFORD
Cultivate is a community-owned social enterprise bringing locally grown fruit and vegetables to people across Oxfordshire. We remember well the day at ORFC in 2012 when we presented our business plans nervously to a full room at Magdalen College. Today, Cultivate’s mobile shop the VegVan tours the city every week, while the Cultivate Online web shop will soon be delivering to outposts further afield in the county. As well as a 10-acre ecological market garden at the Earth Trust in Little Wittenham, Cultivate sources food from more than 20 other local growers and makers, and aims to put more money back into the local economy every year. As part of a growing movement for better food and agriculture, Cultivate also runs a volunteering programme and a range of educational and community projects.
LAMB provided by SHEEPDROVE ORGANIC FARM
Sheepdrove Organic Farm is to be found on 900 hectares of chalk downland, high on the North Wessex Downs on the border between Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Started 30 years ago when farmers and environmental campaigners Peter and Juliet Kindersley bought a dilapidated farmhouse to practice their dream of self-sufficiency, Sheepdrove is a model of environmentally responsible farming driven by a passion and concern for animal welfare, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. As well as their Shetland and Herdwick flocks, Sheepdrove produces grass-fed beef, pork, poultry, turkey, goose and duck, traditional varieties of wheat, oats, barley and rye, fruit, vegetables, eggs and honey. As well as all being organic certified, Sheepdrove is renowned for pioneering high standards of animal welfare.
BEEF provided by HORNTON GROUNDS
Catherine, Graham and Simon farm in partnership in the northernmost corner of the Cotswolds. We produce beef and lamb from our grass and clover leys and grow conservation leys of Lucerne. Historically the land at Hornton has been conventionally farmed, mostly to arable crops on what is known as “Cotswold brash”. Much of the surrounding land has been quarried for the famous ironstone – Hornton stone. Our farming ethos is based on growing energy and protein and utilising it efficiently to produce superb quality meat raised naturally with minimal artificial inputs and an awareness that oil is a finite commodity. We have been here for five years taking that time to convert the all-arable farm to clover rich pastures. We keep a suckler herd of 60 Aberdeen Angus, 140 Texel cross lambs and a small outdoor herd of rare breed Tamworth pigs. Our meat is available to buy direct from the farm between Stratford upon Avon and Banbury.
ABOUT THE CHEFS
THE LATE CHEF
Paul Bellchambers changed career in 2009, from marketing to cooking! Passing his City and Guilds Diploma in Professional Catering in 2005 he worked on his catering business for a few years before making the leap from the IT industry. The Late Chef is a play on the fact that Paul changed career at the age of 52! He is a champion for local food and drink, so much so that he founded the Wallingford Food Festival in 2011 (just under 15 miles away from Oxford). It is now an award winning food event with a Highly Commended and two Silvers in the last three years from Tourism South East. Paul broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Oxford, cooking seasonal and local food. He has an impressive list of clients including the Oxford University Boat Club and the Aston Martin Owners Club. Paul also consults on menu design and is the Head Chef at 1855 Wine Bar and Bistro which came second in the Gastro category at this years Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards with a menu featuring many local producers.
THE TURL STREET KITCHEN
Hosts of ORFC for the last two years, in their beautiful building in the centre of Oxford, we’re pleased that TSK are making the trek to the Town Hall now that the conference has outgrown the venue! Led by Head Chef Carl Isham, since 2011 TSK has brought affordable local and sustainable food to a wide audience, in a relaxed and open setting. Favourably reviewed by no less than Giles Coren in the Times, TSK is also one of only a handful of restaurants in the area to have been awarded the top 3-star rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. In addition to paying close attention to sourcing, TSK always has a range of vegetarian options on the menu, was one of the first restaurants in the city to introduce commercial food waste recycling, and sends all of its profits upstairs to Student Hubs, a charity promoting volunteering and social action amongst students across the UK. As chains increasingly dominate city centres, TSK is a model of how things can be different.
VAULTS AND GARDEN
The Vaults & Garden Café was founded with the aim to square sustainable financial success with positive ecological and cultural development. The Café was established by Will Pouget in 2003 to furnish Oxonians with exciting delicious and healthy food using local organic producers, genuine unpretentious hospitality, a beautiful, convivial and stimulating environment and everyday scholastic affordability. We are careful to choose where our ingredients are sourced from – for example, lentils from south-west France rather than China. We chose our ingredients, develop our recipes and plan our menus with a view to create healthy and nutritionally balanced options that will appeal to broad range of people. We also aim to stimulate discussion and promote awareness of issues regarding individual and social wellbeing and ecological regeneration, by taking part in events like ORFC, and hosting socially, ecologically and culturally inspired events (we’ve hosted the conference in past years too). And we believe in “No-Waste Catering” – less is more, allowing us to use more expensive organic produce without raising the price!