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Farm to Fork Stories

The Yan

Who:

The Keighley Family

Where:

The Yan, Broadrayne Farm, Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9RU

What:

Carbon counting, Pre-ordering/Reducing Food waste within their restaurant.

Key Low Carbon Aspect:

MSO Farming

About The Yan:

We are The Yan at Broadrayne on the outskirts of Grasmere in the heart of the lake district, a family run, “bistro with beds” trying to do our bit to protect the beautiful place we call home. We are part of a converted 17th Century sheep farm in the heart of the lake district. Our bistro provides a seasonal menu inspired by the farm’s history – rustic Cumbrian classics, nostalgic British favourites, and exciting modern dishes – all made from local ingredients.

Our green ethos is embedded within our history, the previous owners sold the farm to fund their Hydro dreams in 2012 and this now supplies the farms with electricity. When my parents took it on their first goals were to improve the energy and oversaw the installation of a biomass system in 2016. This inherited ethos has been part of the fundamental core of the business as we have developed over the years.

The Yan Kitchen

Focus:

We started by considering whether the pre-ordering system that we had in place when they first came out of lockdown could be restarted to reduce the amount of food waste generated by the business. To move this forward, we have been working with the Eco I NW team at the University of Cumbria to measure the food waste before and after the pre-ordering system was set up and use that information to encourage guests to pre-order.

This work lead onto an assessment of the carbon footprint of each of the dishes on our menu and the beginning of a tool for making it easy to calculate the carbon footprint of new dishes. Through this, we have set up a model to work through each dish allowing us to offer carbon-conscious choices within the menu.

The knowledge about the carbon footprints of the dishes on the menu will allow us to work on reducing them further and will also encourage diners to make low-carbon choices.

We have then worked at how we present this information to our guests and currently have QR codes on our menus for those that are interested in our “mindful menu” while they are dining.

Why?

We have a responsibility as a tourism business in the heart of an area of natural beauty and we are all too aware of the negative impact such a business can have. How can we live in such a beautiful place and not have looking after our environment as a top priority?

While cutting food waste and other resource consumption will also help to reduce operating costs, through the food project, we discovered that the majority of the business’s carbon footprint comes from the food that they serve in the Bistro. The lockdown pre-ordering system was shown to have reduced food waste by 50%, a significant reduction in waste, especially considering in our sector 1.1 million tonnes of food is wasted each year – 75% of this is avoidable, and the associated carbon emissions that could provide a yearly 1.174 Ton saving for our business.

When?

In November 2020 we decided to finally complete our Green Tourism Gold award (after my dad trying and giving up multiple times over the years) and I became incredibly overwhelmed with the task and frustrated with huge conglomerates flashing green credentials I didn’t feel were real or valid. We knew the business close to carbon neutrality, especially with our onsite renewable energy sources but wanted the evidence to back that up, which felt incredibly time-consuming and daunting.

We joined some winter covid lockdown Zoom peer groups and we were discussing, with other small business owners from Cumbria, our pre-ordering system from the summer and how much it helped us financially as a business to get through just a difficult time. We then got onto the topic of sustainability, and it became clear that we had such a great data set to then compare our next summer to and see the difference. If we’re honest, it felt like a strange place and at the time insignificant place, to focus our sustainability mindset on, at first, however, it opened up so many questions, projects, ideas and more importantly a place to start.

We still haven’t finished our Green Tourism Award application but we’ve achieved so much more!

How?

Local impact groups with our peers helped us massively, made us feel less alone in our challenges and gave us information on grant funding and university partnerships.

Eco-I NW, alongside Cumbria Uni, helped us break everything down and establish the facts about our carbon footprint and food waste. We now have models in place keep track of our carbon, which helps us continue to push to improve. Having this robust information allow us to market the business’s low-carbon credentials without the fear of greenwashing.

We also have a network, which we continually look to build and grow, of businesses that are adventuring down the same paths with the same beliefs, this is invaluable.

Where next?

As I type we are having some solar-powered staff accommodation finished, this is our first dabble into solar power so we are excited to see the outcomes.

We are now looking at how to pass on findings to our customers without them feeling overwhelmed or put off. This is a continued challenge and something we are embracing, this might be in the form of an interactive map to sit on our website that lets guests see how the farm runs and what Jess and the team do on a day-to-day basis to reduce their environmental impact, alongside QR codes at certain points of the farm for people to walk around.

There were, and we believe there always will be challenges in this ever-changing subject where the goalposts are continually moved. We will always be on the lookout for how to improve and develop as more data is found and information provided over the years.

So our next steps are shouting about our wins, however small and putting our name out there to hopefully inspire other businesses to celebrate their hard work too!

Click to expand our carbon footprint map

Top tips

Four top tips for anyone else who runs a hospitality business but wants to do their ‘bit’.

We focus on ourselves, and our journey and now work on a “little changes lead to longevity” mind set. We do not focus on the end result, while it is important, instead, our priority focus is the journey along the way. Preventing us from getting overwhelmed and feeling the full weight of the world’s climate emergency on our shoulders.

Don’t be afraid of your freezer!

Ask for help, from your peers, your team, your guests – we are amazed by the positive reaction of getting others involved in your journey.

Shout about EVERY SINGLE WIN! However small and insignificant you think it is, it won’t be perfect or exactly how you want it to come across… but it never will be… so celebrate it.

Need some inspiration?

Here’ s three waste free video recipes for you to try!

The Yan Shepherds Pie

The Yan Samosa

The Yan Baba Ganoush

Find out more about this project

Where can I find out more about Low Carbon practices?

The Low Carbon Food Programme in Cumbria have put together a handy list of external resources designed to help you learn and achieve your reduced carbon culinary goals. From tips to tables, facts to farming networks, we have compiled Videos, podcasts and web links to help.

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