Insta-Worthy and Ecofriendly – Source Foods
Last week, I wrote about Antz Inya Pantz: the little café making big moves in the name of sustainability. The next step in the journey to find Perth’s most eco-friendly cafes takes us to Source Foods in Highgate.
This cosy café is beautifully bright with natural light. And the trendy furnishings make it feel very Melbourne-esque.
As I approach the counter to meet the owner, Emma Ainsworth, I can’t help but notice the cabinet full of goodies. Source caters to all different diets. There are gluten-free desserts, vegan bagels, vegetarian wraps, and options for the meat-lovers. I know where I want to spend my lunch break today!
Emma greets us with one hand holding a precious package: her baby son tucked into his carrier basket. This supermum has just been out delivering platters with bub along for the ride. He guzzles his milk companionably while I sip my cappuccino.
As we sit down with Emma, my eyes are drawn to the wooden crisscross shelves on the wall. On the shelves, among the potted plants, are reusable coffee cups that customers can buy.
Along with selling these reusable cups, Source incentivises the use of personal cups.
“We’re part of the Sustainable Café program, where we give a discount – so we give 50 cents off – if [the customers] bring their own cups in.” Emma explains.
“Even glasses for the juices – we give them a 50 cents discount when they bring their own stuff in.”
The cups I’m really interested in are their takeaway cups. Source uses Vegware cups for their takeaway coffees. A Vegware cup looks just like a normal paper coffee cup with a plastic lid. They’re actually made from plant-based materials. Their natural origin means they can go back to the Earth at the end of their life.
“They’re a hundred percent compostable,” Emma smiles.
“So the lid – that’s actually not plastic – that’s actually a food product… You can put this into your compost and it will biodegrade.”
Emma was so impressed by the Vegware cups, she’s also started using their compostable cutlery. Even Source’s food containers are biodegradable Biopak containers.
“All of our takeaway containers are either cardboard, or they’re Biopak,” she tells us.
Vegware cups and Biopak containers are more costly than non-biodegradable products, but it’s worth it for Emma.
“It does cost more… So for me, it’s a choice… that’s what I want to do.”
Once their cups and cutlery are composted with the rest of their food scraps, Source has the compost collected by a group called Green World Revolution (GWR).
“We joined forces with an urban farm on Gladstone Street called ‘Green World Revolution’, so they actually take all our compost.”
GWR uses the compost to grow food to supply to local cafes and restaurants. By producing the food locally for local businesses, they’re helping to reduce pollution associated with the transportation of food. They even do it all on bikes to further reduce their carbon footprint.
“We’ve got buckets out the back that we fill every day with all our waste … it goes into their composting and they supply us with our microgreens for putting on our dishes.” Emma tells us.
“We support them and they support us.”
I drain the last of my cappuccino, savouring it to the last drop. The secret to their coffee’s great taste is Source’s own custom blend.
“We have our own blend that we made with Pound… No one else in Perth has our blend.”
Pound Coffee Roastery in Fremantle isn’t just helping Source with their delicious coffee blend, they’re also helping them in their quest to be more ethical in their business.
“[Pound Coffee] purchase their beans from family farms. So the actual farmers get the profit, rather than the middle man.”
The other side of Source’s business is catering. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create their mouthwatering menu, which reads like a foodie’s dream. Maple roasted sweet potato arancini, organic Moroccan spiced meatballs and pulled pork sliders on brioche buns make their catering platters a lot more exciting than your stock-standard sandwich platter.
Source is one of Perth’s most sustainable caterers. Their environmental focus goes beyond their choice of ingredients – they’ve also thought about the impact of the packaging.
“We provide reusable platters, so I’ll do a delivery of all of our catering, and I’ll go back and collect them. Otherwise I have catering boxes which are all cardboard, so they can be recycled.”
Since the birth of her son, Emma has had to take a bit of time off, but the work she’s put into taking care of her customers has definitely been repaid in kind.
“I get phone calls now from my customers saying ‘the staff are doing a really good job while you’re not there – don’t worry,’” she chuckles.
“We’re like a family here. We have regulars that come in every day, multiple times a day.”
Source Foods is a small café with a big conscience. I ask what drives Emma’s passion for operating a sustainable business.
“The impact is big. It only takes one person to decide to do this and it makes a big difference.”
I leave feeling inspired to make those small decisions in life with the big impacts – but not before grabbing a sandwich for the road.