Growing communities what we do

 

WHAT WE DO

1. Community

• Organic fruit and vegetable box scheme

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2.

‐led trading systems:– provides over 400 local households with fresh, seasonal produce each week supplied in line with a strict policy which prioritises direct, local suppliers and UK produce. The scheme is a collection scheme ‐ the main pick up point is in Stoke Newington and there are several smaller community collection points in the area to which we deliver by milkfloat and bicycle trailer.

The Stoke Newington Farmers Market – the first market in the UK where all the produce is organic or biodynamic and which works to support small environmentally sustainable farmers and producers based within 129 miles of Hackney. It runs every Saturday and currently provides space for around 18 farmers and producers. The Good Food Swap – we encouraged and supported local people to make, bake, grow or pick good food throughout the year which they then swapped for other produce at two Good Food Swaps in 2006/7. An innovative and money‐free way of getting hold of good food. We hope to organise another swap in 2009. Growing our own food: – we grow organic vegetables on our three small Soil Association certified growing sites as part of our aim of increasing the amount of organic produce grown right here in Hackney. Two urban apprentices and a team of volunteer workers helps us with this task and the food grown is sold through the Box Scheme. We specialise in mixed salad bags and are aiming to supply all the salad needs of the Box Scheme from our own sites. The market gardens wil generate laround £10,000 this year, but are not yet covering their direct costs. We continue to work on increasing productivity and yields

Patchwork Farm: made up of urban micro‐sites and peri‐urban Starter Farms: we are currently carrying out research in relation to these two exciting new areas of work. Community orchards – we have helped to plant and continue to support two urban orchards here in Hackney. 3. Working to inspire and support other communities wanting to learn from our work:

•Replicating:

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we want to increase our impact by enabling Growing Communities type operations to be set up in other urban areas and are developing plans for how me might recruit and support individuals and groups wanting to use the model in their areas.

4. Carrying out other areas of work as a result of 1, 2 and 3:

•Schools visits/Food For Life/Masterclasses

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– schools are welcome to visit our sites and take part in a tour and growing activity. We charge a fee to cover our costs and provide resource materials and use of our eco‐building as part of the package. We also work with the Soil Association in relation to their Food For Life and Masterclass programmes. We will be launching our own organic food growing courses in 2009. Policy and campaigning work – GC is on the board of London Food. We are working to bring our Manifesto and Food Zone to the attention of policy makers, academics and NGO’s •Urban market gardens

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