I discovered this inspiring project last year when I was looking for voluntary work. I started volunteering at their gardens at Springfield Park in Hackney and really loved the experience of meeting people in my local area over a shared activity and learning new things!
What do they do?
1. Organic Box Scheme: choose what type of organic fruit and veg bags you want in your box and choose a pick-up point local to you from which to collect it. All food is grown as close to Hackney as possible; either in their local urban market gardens, patchwork farm or their new starter farm. All food is sourced from small-scale, local, organic and bio-dynamic growers. The prices are here, and there is a discount for pensioners.
2. Urban food growing: volunteers grow food (specializing in salad leaves) in market gardens in Hackney: Clissold Park, Springfield Park and Allens Gardens. They also have farms: Patchwork (a collection of plots in Hackney) and Startup in Dagenham. Anyone is welcome to visit and check it out.
Growing Communities: growing a network
Growing Communities has been doing amazing work empowering people to create their own suchlike projects through their Start-up Programme.
So far, nine community-led box schemes have emerged: Burnley Crop Share, Let’s Eat Local, Moffat, Local Greens, Herne Hill, London, the Windmill Community Box scheme, Margate, Vegbox, Kentish Town, London, Field to Fork, Kensal Rise, London Cropdrop in Haringey, Enfield Veg Co, London and Organic Ilford, London.
Why do they do it?
Issues of rapid urbanisation and climate change present challenges of sustainability in cities. Growing Communities believe we need to localise. They want to encourage people to reconnect to the source of their nourishment by growing and delivering good quality, organic vegetables and fruits that have all been locally grown with care and consideration of the ecosystems in place (bio-dynamic approach).
They have a manifesto where they discuss the problem and how we can change things. They set out the vision of what is meant by sustainable and resilient in their key principles. They do this work because they care about the future of people in cities adapting to challenges and re-connecting to the source of our food.
Find out more, hear stories and get involved
You can find out more on their website, by following their blog and twitter. To get involved you can volunteer or even become an urban apprentice.