KSG – Our Food is Our Passion
KSG Catering Ltd, the official catering partner for University College Cork has developed an eight-acre micro farm in conjunction with the university in order to provide sustainable local healthy produce for its twelve restaurants on campus. As the largest Irish owned catering service provider KSG is committed to leading the path in sustainable catering in Ireland and was rewarded for its innovative work at the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) Food Made Good Awards by Chef Jamie Oliver with the highest accolade of three stars in London recently.
The ‘Soil to Fork’ project is the first of its kind in any university in Ireland with crops being home-grown and then harvested for use in the campus restaurants. The eight acres of crops will yield their first harvest of fresh herbs and vegetables in September, giving an exciting opportunity to directly connect the ecosystem to the plates of students and staff daily on campus. The micro farm is located in Curraheen with perfect conditions for growing on a high piece of land with a frequent breeze coming up from the channel of Cork harbour, which helps the crops to dry out in times of heavy rainfall.
Crops include carrots, turnips, parsnips, leeks, beetroot, lettuce and herbs such as rosemary, mint and thyme. KSG Catering operate a range of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops across the UCC campus and the fresh produce from the farm will be used in all the outlets.
Michael Gleeson, Managing Director of KSG commented, “Food really is our passion and with a consistent focus on sustainability we are proud to grow our own food on campus grounds, which will be served up fresh on a daily basis to the over 20,000 staff and students at the university. Having won the 2016 Irish Food Made Good Champion award with the Sustainable Restaurant Association in the UK, we are now Ireland’s most sustainable caterer and continually strive to provide healthy options for our customers.”
Dr. Michael Murphy, President of University College Cork said, “Our mission at UCC is to advance excellence in every aspect of university life. With a firm focus on sustainability and healthy living, we are delighted to work with KSG Catering on delivering a local healthy menu for our student population. Having been awarded the international Green Flag for environmental friendliness in 2010 and also the ISO50001 standard in energy management we are keen to constantly build our sustainability awareness and limit our carbon footprint.”
Kate Quinlan, UCC Welfare Officer said, “It’s a really great initiative. It’s keeping everything local and Cork based. The food is healthy which means its fuel for study and learning. Lately the media has been highlighting traceability in food, which causes you to question where your meal came from. Here you know exactly where your food is coming from, you can come and see it for yourself and you’re saving on the carbon footprint of flying in produce from far flung places like Egypt. Sometimes you’ve no idea what you’re eating or where it’s coming from so this gives peace of mind to enjoy our local produce.”