Last week saw teams from each of the Season+Taste sites head to the idyllic Community Farm for the annual AGM. After a busy summer of work and travel the gang was reunited on the shores of Chew Lake for a morning of harvesting and an afternoon of sharing ideas about the future of the company.
The Community Farm has been working for the past 8 years to produce fresh organic fruit and veg for Bristol and the surrounding areas, and Season+Taste has recently signed the whole company up for their veg box scheme as a wellbeing perk.
Tor, the farm’s volunteering coordinator, treated everyone to a cup of coffee on arrival and gave the team an insight into the farm’s history and ethos, which focuses on environmental sustainability, community engagement and nature-friendly farming. Luckily the weather held out all morning, as next on the agenda was a tour of the farm, with a pit stop collection of tomatoes ready for a pizza lunch, to be cooked on sight. But before lunch, the team was challenged to complete the shallot harvest. As Tor explained, this harvest is usually undertaken by 3 people and takes a full day – however with a team 15 strong, the whole process was done and dusted in just over half an hour, much to Tor’s delight!!
After a morning of hard work the team paused for a quick pizza lunch – made with dough from Bakers&Co head chef Brett and tones of fresh veg from the farm. The rain began to pour just as lunch was finishing, so the team headed to the shelter of the ‘Roundhouse’ to begin the afternoon’s meeting.
Kieran and Imogen had held an AGM last year, where they had introduced the ideas of opening both Gambas and Masa+Mezcal to the company – this year many of the team who had attended the previous AGM sat down with members of the newer sites (that were last year just a mere dream) to look at how the business had changed since last year, and what the focus would be in the year ahead.
The overall theme of the meeting was the desire to look inward following a period of growth in the company. It is time to look at what Season+Taste can do to improve the business for everyone, from customers to suppliers and from staff to the wider community.
Imogen introduced a new sustainability policy. This policy would aim to question the provenance and ecological impact of every product used in kitchens across all five restaurants. Season+Taste has always aimed to use seasonal and, where possible, organic produce. The aim of this new policy is to push both suppliers and chefs to be more mindful in the sourcing of their ingredients and the development of menus. And what better place to introduce this new policy than at a community led, organic farm!
Kieran’s main point of focus was on the development of relationships within the company. The teams discussed what the company could do to get the best out of their staff, and to make sure each restaurant was filled with happy and engaged staff, who could grow within the company.
Whether it be wellbeing projects such as the subsidised veg boxes from the Community Farm, free yoga sessions at Pure yoga or training opportunities, the teams put their heads together to pinpoint what could help staff and the business continue to improve. Each of the teams had plenty of ideas, found a lot of potential in one another extra skills and left the AGM feeling energised and ready to share these ideas with the rest of their teams….after a quick lakeside beer of course!