Cafe owner, Doug McMaster. He is pictured next to the Stoneground Mill, used to mill wheat grain for bread and sandwiches sold on site. 26 Apr, 2015 © Emma Stoner / Greenpeace

What's that about you may well ask? That's the same question I asked myself when I visited their website.

So I decided to check it out.

Walking into Silo, I'm greeted by a table laden with sourdough sandwiches stuffed with roasted veggies and behind it a large industrial installation.

Sebastian, one of the staff, explains that this is the heated composter – capable of aerobically digesting (processing) the restaurant waste within a day. Everything goes into the digester: the compostable cutlery, plates, food waste….and within a day is turned into a rich compost that goes back to the farmers that supply the restaurant or is picked up by enthusiastic Brighton allotment holders.

Composter at Silo Cafe in Brighton. 26 Apr, 2015 © Emma Stoner / Greenpeace

But where does the food come from?

Sebastian explains that Silo "intercepts food" rejected by the supermarkets and on its way to landfill. This means that the menu changes everyday depending on what produce has been "intercepted". Silo also has 5-10 regular suppliers of local fruit and veg. Although not necessarily organic or local, Silo tries to source as much seasonal produce as possible from as close as they can. For example, the organic wheat comes from Sussex or neighbouring Kent and is stone ground on the premises.

Mill at Silo Cafe in Brighton. 26 Apr, 2015 © Emma Stoner / Greenpeace

What’s pre-industrial food? This is food prepared using "techniques both modern and ancient" to provide a more primitive diet. This means a lot of fermented foods, like the spelt (an ancient grain cultivated since 5000BC) or rye sourdough bread, fermented brown rice, fermented ramson (wild garlic) and porridge with activated grains.

Despite opening only in October 2014, Silo seems to be doing well and is currently crowd-funding for extending the kitchen and installing a coffee bar.

Local Population in Silo Cafe in Brighton. 26 Apr, 2015 © Emma Stoner / Greenpeace

We need more 'conscious' and ecological restaurants like Silo where serving food is not only a business but also a contribution to our culture, our society and our planet.

Silo is definitely part of the food movement composed of farmers, people, business and organizations that want to make the food system more ecological, healthy and humanised. You can be part of it too by challenging yourself to do something differently when buying, preparing or growing your food. Need some inspiration? Visit and pledge something today.


Iza Kruszewska is a senior food campaigner (and proud allotment holder) at Greenpeace International.