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Sustainable Food at Coventry University

Sustainable Food at Coventry University

At Coventry University we believe that the food we supply should be delicious and high quality with sustainability at the heart of every meal we serve.

We work in partnership with catering providers at all our locations to enhance sustainability throughout the whole life cycle of the catering services we provide; from sourcing, preparing, serving, through to waste food and packaging. This is a key area in our tender processes, ensuring our contractors share our ethos to embed sustainability throughout all of our catering activities.

Food has a unique contribution to make to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with the potential to impact on most of the goals; zero hunger, health, wellbeing and life on land being a few.

Within Coventry, the Coventry Food Charter seeks to address food poverty and sustainable local production. The Charter has been developed by Coventry University research teams, in partnership with local charities and organisations within the city. Our in-house catering can also support the charter

Edible Garden

Our edible garden located in the centre of campus is open for all to engage with. Students, staff and the community share the space to plant, grow and pick vegetables, herbs and fruit. A green, amber and red flag system is in operation to indicate when each bed is likely to be ready, and a noticeboard in the edible garden indicates what is planted throughout the edible garden.

In 2023 we are growing the following vegetables, fruit and herbs: summer squash, sweet corn, spinach, broad beans, dwarf beans, runner beans, French climber beans, tomatoes, courgettes, beetroot, lettuce, carrots, parsnips, kale, onions, leeks, pumpkins, aubergine, radish, pak choi, rhubarb, mint, strawberries, sage, thyme, basil and chard.

We have recently added a row of pleached Malus 'Evereste' trees that provides an architectural feature in the garden, which benefit people and wildlife. These trees are particularly lovely crab apples, bearing masses of white flowers in spring, opening from red buds, followed by a second show of red-flushed, orange-yellow edible fruits in autumn, which can be used to make jellies and sauces.

For wildlife, Malus ‘Evereste’ is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, birds, butterflies/moths and other pollinators. It is a caterpillar food plant, has nectar/pollen rich flowers, provides shelter and habitat and has seeds for birds. For this summer, an understorey of spectacular nectar flowering plants that benefit bees and butterflies is currently being planned/planted.


Coventry University is a two star Fairtrade University, this accreditation is awarded to us by the Fairtrade Foundation for working to raise awareness with our students of the issues of ethical and sustainable consumption, and increasing the availability of Fairtrade products in our outlets, including tea and coffee. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

In addition, we support reduced impact food by providing meat free and vegan options in all our main catering outlets.

All fish is Marine Stewardship Council approved to prevent un-sustainable fishing practices.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Recycling is available for plastic bottles and coffee cups on campus. Not producing this waste in the first place is more sustainable and we do promote the avoidance of single use plastics and coffee cups through sales and campaigns to promote using refillable containers. Discounts for reusable coffee cups are available in all our outlets. You can also fill up water bottles for free at the Hub ‘hydration station’, any of our catering outlets or water fountains on campus.

Fairtrade University award logo

View the location of all water fountains on campus.

Food waste is recycled from our catering outlets producing compost and energy and we also work with the Trusell Trust to donate packaged food to support local food banks.

We encourage health and sustainable food and choices on campus through regular social media updates, events and promotional activities.

Read our Sustainable Food Policy Statement, Fairtrade Policy and Landscape and Management Plan.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023