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As former 2020 Gold winners in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable West Midlands Tourism Awards, it was only right that we visited the Jewellery Quarter based Café and Bakery – The Hive to discover the beauty of this hidden gem for ourselves!

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Head chef and manager, Dom Lawson was the perfect host and explained the facilities and ethos of the brand in depth. 

The Hive Café and Bakery is connected to Argent College (Ruskin Mill Trust) - education and community centre where 16-25 year olds with special educational needs, including autistic spectrum conditions can learn a trade while developing personal and social skills, valuable work experience and training opportunities - all on site in the studio and kitchen. As a vegetarian café that makes all food in house, the students are fortunate to be involved in every step of the process from growing and harvesting the food to preparation and cooking.

The café offers a seasonal menu with 10 dishes for lunch and 8 for breakfast, all of which the ingredients are grown and sourced in the unique rooftop garden (the UK's only bio-dynamically farmed rooftop garden!) When visiting, you are guaranteed to be served fresh, organic produce that is picked every day for use.

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When we visited, we had the Croque Monsieur toastie which included triple cheese and black truffle with pickled and crispy onion, Hive's triple cooked chips and a very special Indian spiced scotch hen's egg with tikka masala mayonnaise, mango and cardamon chutney. All dishes were absolutely delicious, and you can taste the freshness, love and passion that goes into creating these unique dishes. 

The way the Hive Café & Bakery take their environmental responsibilities and ethical values seriously is evident in why they're an award-winning establishment. It’s incredible to see and hear about the through processes that they go through to ensure food and green waste is selectively collected and composted.

Food waste is taken to the rooftop garden for the first stage of composting in the Ridan In-Vessel Compost Tumbler for 3 weeks. Once complete the compost created then goes down to the basement into a customised Worm Composter for a further 3-4 months to break down further. 

The finished “polished” worm castings are returned to the vegetable beds on the rooftop to complete the cycle – creating nutrient rich, organic soil for produce to grow.   
This cycle constitutes the “Table-to-Seed” part of our students’ curriculum and is unique to the Ruskin Mill Trust educational provision. 

There is also a fabulous public arts/crafts offering, perfect for those wanting to create or appreciate art at all levels. 

Learn more about The Hive Café and Bakery here.