The Hive

Organisation: Ruskin Mill Trust (The Hive Café and Bakery), 43-47 Vittoria Street, Birmingham, B1 3PE

Sustainability fits in with our ethos. We as a charity use the unique Ruskin Mill ‘Seed to Table’ and ‘Table to Seed’ curriculum. This means a no waste policy. We have always used this format since the day the café opened. Seeds from our rooftop garden are planted and used to grow produce for our café. This then ends up on people’s tables. The food from the table is then recycled in our waste and gets turned into seed. This is part of our Practical Skills Therapeutic Education. Showing students that we are sustainable is paramount. We won a gold award for Best Ethical, Sustainable and Responsible from VisitEngland in 2020 so we are making sure we keep up to the standards set for our business and charity.

All of our take-out materials are environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable. We have no plastic. We also have no deep fat frying facilities either on site. Both for health and safety and environmental reasons. We use only the freshest ingredients with an always healthy approach to our cooking and menu. Vegetarian cooking should never be boring. When the kitchen is used with the right imaginative chef, the food should sing with deliciousness. This is not only a good way to mentor our students, but is nice for the public to also taste for themselves.

In 2017, we had installed a Riden Composter on our rooftop garden. We also have a biodynamic rooftop garden and is apparently Europe’s only biodynamic rooftop garden which is connected to a café!



The food waste from the café and Argent College Kitchen (which is connected to our business) goes from our recycling up to the composter. This gets churned with woodchips for three weeks. The compost then goes down to our basement and is fed to our worms. The worms feed off this for three months to create a nutritional compost. This compost then goes up to the rooftop garden to be used for growing vegetables. This is an on-going procedure and runs like clockwork. 90% of our scrap waste is recycled. Even our old tapped coffee is recycled as the worms love it.

We use produce from the garden every single day. Sometimes staff from the café pick the produce or students from the café pick and hand over the goods to us, allowing used to use 90% organic and biodynamic produce in our dishes. All dishes at The Hive are vegetarian cutting costs, cutting CO2 emissions, reducing food miles and meaning that all produce is seasonal and local.


Our future plans

We will grow more fantastic produce on our rooftop garden (in a herb garden, producing micro herbs, and fruit trees). We have a close connection and relationship with our sister site Vale Head Farm and will order produce from here every week (eggs and any fruit or vegetable that are in season), using local produce and cutting food miles.



We have been recognised for our initiatives with the following awards:

  • Gold award for Best Ethical, Sustainable and Responsible from VisitEngland in 2020
  • West Midlands Tourism Award 2020

The Sunday Times have also provided a positive food review and we receive excellent reviews from customers on Google and have a good following on social media.