North London’s organic pioneer voted pick of the pubs

dukeThumbThe Duke of Cambridge in Islington has been awarded the title of greenest pub in London, in a competition run by the Jellied Eel magazine, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Ethical Eats catering network.

Almost 40 of the capital’s pubs were in the running for the award, which covers not just the drinks on offer, but the food, their environmental practices and links with the local community. The ten with the most public votes went before a panel of judges from CAMRA and Sustain, who examined the pubs’ ethical credentials to decide the winner.

Pick of the pubs, the Duke of Cambridge, has championed sustainable food and drink for 15 years, and was the country’s first organic pub. The pub has also worked with local schools and nurseries to teach children how to cook healthy meals using locally-grown, organic ingredients. It also supports local charities and encourages staff to volunteer in the community.

Judge Claire Cain, from CAMRA said: “There were some really good contenders, but the Duke of Cambridge really stood out. These days pubs are really struggling businesses and have to do so much more to up their game and reflect the change in our culture. At CAMRA we really want to see pubs engaging with their communities more, and the Duke is absolutely committed to doing that.”

Geetie Singh, the pub’s owner, said: “It’s hugely flattering to win this award. We are entirely organic, everything we buy is sustainable and seasonal, and although it’s a constant challenge to get enough quantities of anything, it’s incredibly exciting for our chefs. When we first opened I tried to keep it quiet that we were an ethical business because I thought people would be put off by it. But now customers come because they share our values and that’s really heartening. People can eat and drink delicious food here entirely guilt-free.”

South London’s hostelries didn’t miss out though. Kennington’s The Three Stags was awarded Highly Commended, for developing strong links with local growers. Ingredients like fruit, vegetables and herbs come from within a two-mile radius of the pub and are delivered by bike. Even closer to home, the pub has a beehive and herb-growing area on its roof. Non-alcoholic drinks include seasonal cordials (currently elderflower and red elderflower) made by in-house urban forager Tess. On the waste front, taking leftovers home in doggy bags is very much encouraged and everything from oil to food is recycled.

And a little further South in Streatham, The Railway made it into the winning three as ‘One to Watch’. The pub hosts a fortnightly food market to support local growers and businesses, like urban chilli farmers Peeps Treats who use the pub’s roof space. It also shares its kitchen with local cake maker Wren Cakes, who keep the pub’s new tearoom supplied with freshly baked cakes and pastries, and offers pensioners a discount.

Jellied Eel editor Ben Reynolds said: “We were really chuffed to see not only how London’s pubs are going that extra mile to bring good food and drink to the capital, but also the variety of community links they have built, with schools, local growers, charities and small food producers. And with pubs in the capital closing at an alarming rate, there’s no excuse not to get out there and support the neighbourhood boozer.”

One of the lucky voters has won a meal for two at the Duke, plus a free year-long CAMRA membership, a Good Beer Guide 2013 and a bottle opener.

CAMRA is a not-for-profit campaigning organisation for real ale and community pubs with 150,000 members and 160 beer festivals. @camra_offical

The Jellied Eel is a quarterly London magazine about ethical eating. It is produced by London Food Link, part of the charity Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming. 20,000 copies of the free magazine are distributed via 170 outlets across London. and Twitter @jelliedeelmag.

The Duke of Cambridge is at 30 St Peter’s Street, Islington, N1. @dukeorganic.

The Three Stags is at 67-69 Kennington Rd, SE1 7PZ. @threestags.

The Railway is at 2 Greyhound Lane, SW16 5SD. @therailwaysw16.

Source: Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

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