UK: Growing Communities scoops Observer award
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Growing Communities has won Observer Food Monthly’s Best Independent Retailer award for their community-led organic box scheme and Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market. The award was announced at a ceremony at Victoria House in Bloomsbury and was published in the Observer Food Monthly on 21 October. “We’re particularly proud to have won the Observer award as it is voted for by readers – the people that buy and eat our food,” said Growing Communities director Julie Brown. “It’s a real vote of confidence that box scheme members and farmers’ market customers not only appreciate the great, fresh, organic food we supply every week but also support our efforts to change the food system into one that is fairer and more sustainable.” (Picture: the market is very popular)
Growing Communities has spent the past 18 years building up the box scheme, market and growing sites, and now has 26 part-time members of staff. It has recently launched a Start-up Programme to enable other groups to set up similar community-led box schemes based on the successful model created in Hackney, supporting local farmers and creating jobs elsewhere in the UK. The organisation has also recently set up a Starter Farm in Dagenham which is producing organic vegetables for sale in Hackney and Dagenham. (Picture: Packaging fruit ready for sale)
Growing Communities also run organically certified urban market gardens, where they grow produce for sale through the box scheme. They specialise in salads and leafy greens and are very proud of their virtually zero-carbon salad bags. Their urban growing sites also provide training for our apprentice growers and volunteers, some of whom are now helping to create a Patchwork Farm in Hackney, where they grow food for the box scheme in back gardens, on church land and on estates. More information is available in the Annual Report.
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