Robina Town Centre’s bustling urban marketplace, The Kitchens, is now open on Queensland’s Gold Coast – offering an Australian-first culinary concept and delivering innovative sustainability outcomes through collaboration.
A focus on recycling pervades the entire operation of The Kitchens, contributing to a 200% increase in recycling for Robina Town Centre in the past year.
Key recycling initiatives:
- A partnership with Gold Coast City Council has seen The Kitchens become the first food precinct in Australia to establish an organic waste recycling program – to date 80,000 litres of organic waste has been captured for compost instead of landfill.
- An oil recycling program in which waste oil is collected by an external company for reprocessing and reuse.
- 2,300KL of rainwater captured for reuse covering more than 80% of the water needed by the Centre for toilets, irrigation and external cleaning.
- A controlled packaging program established for tenants of The Kitchens ensures food retailers are only permitted to use compostable bags and packaging.
- More than 6,000 tableware items washed daily and reused through a bespoke, environmentally-conscious shared tableware program. The centralised cleaning provides water and energy efficiencies for dishwashing as well as a significant reduction in waste from packaging and disposable dinnerware.
The Kitchens is also home to more than 1 million bees introduced to the area through the establishment of 36 beehives, including an educational show hive on display within the food precinct. Foraging for pollen and nectars as far as Merrimac in the north and Burleigh Heads in the south, these bees have substantially increased local pollination rates, encouraging growth of crops for local and backyard farmers and growers.
Everything harvested from the hives is processed, extracted and bottled naturally at The Kitchens Cooking Stage, where customers can watch and access the bee keepers for questions. With no heat used in the process, the more than 2.5 tonnes of honey harvested each year is nutrient dense and rich in flavour, which is supplied directly to tenants of The Kitchens for use in food preparation.
Recently, surplus honey has been bottled for sale at The Kitchens, and several local doctors are recommending The Kitchens Honey to their patients with hay fever due to the local pollens it contains.
Australian food rescue group OzHarvest has found a valued partner in The Kitchens, providing strong support for their ongoing initiatives in which unused food items are saved and donated to charities and organisations in the Gold Coast area.
Leaving donations daily in the on-site industrial refrigerators, retailers from The Kitchens donated the equivalent of over 2,000 meals to those in need between January and June 2017.
OzHarvest Gold Coast Manager, Lee Danahay, said the partnership with The Kitchens has provided an invaluable boost to their ability to help those in the community who have difficulties accessing healthy and nutritious food.
“We’re very grateful to Robina Town Centre and the retailers of The Kitchens for their amazing support of our food rescue program”.
Lee Danahay, OzHarvest Gold Coast Manager.
“This vital service is having a powerful and positive impact on the community through food deliveries to a range of Gold Coast charities, including local neighbourhood centres, emergency relief and homeless shelters, street vans, school breakfast programs and alternative education programs.”
Other innovative community programs delivered at The Kitchens include:
- School tours - educational school group tours from eight local schools have been hosted in The Kitchens, with a focus on its waste facilities.
- Apprenticeships - more than 1,000 students have come through ICON Trainings apprenticeship classes, representing over 170 local business on the Gold Coast
- Cultural celebrations - The Kitchens plays host to regular cultural festivals, including annual celebrations such as the week-long Chinese New Year festivities hosted in partnership with the Gold Coast Chinese Cultural Community, as well as a monthly Latina Dance Festival and weekly Tango Classes.
- Community hosts - The Kitchens has become the host location for The League of Extraordinary Women and Gold Coast Independent Film Makers.
- Kids in the kitchen - The Kitchens’ ICON Cooking school has had more than 1,200 children take part in kids cooking workshops during school holidays, peaking their interest in preparing fresh, healthy food.
- Supporting local music talent - more than 50 local musicians have taken advantage of the ‘Busk Stop’ program in The Kitchens, with many of these musicians scoring paid gigs from the exposure of busking at Robina Town Centre.
- Food entrepreneurs - more than 20 food entrepreneurs have utilised the Registered Kitchens and Pop-ups within The Kitchens to access experience and exposure for their growing businesses. Three such entrepreneurs have secured permanent leasing opportunities from this experience: Gnocchi Brothers, Seeds of Life and Lisbon Café.
- Cooking demonstrations - over 100 cooking demonstrations have taken place for the public, providing healthy and fresh cooking inspiration for visitors to The Kitchens. In addition to twice-weekly demonstrations by The Kitchens’ Chef in Residence’, celebrity chef appearances to date include: George Calombaris, Matt Sinclair, Alistair Mcleod, Ben Williamson, Sammy & Bella from MKR and Matt Golinski.