The UK’s only fully organic food market is celebrating 20 years in Stoke Newington this May.
Launched by entrepreneurial campaigner Julie Brown, the Growing Communities Farmers' Market has constantly championed sustainably produced food and a farmer-focused approach that ensures local farmers and producers get the income they need to survive and thrive.
Head to the market at St Paul’s Church on a Saturday and you’ll find fish that’s been caught the same day, organic fruit and veg, milk, honey from Hackney hives and pesticide-free flowers.
As well as offering a low food-mile way to shop, the market champions the refill movements – customers can bring along their own egg cartons as well as containers to refill milk, honey and kombucha.
Kerry Rankine, Market Coordinator at Growing Communities, said: “The sheer abundance of produce brought to the market every week by the farmers and their hard work and dedication to farming in a sustainable way despite huge challenges, never fails to impress me. It’s fantastic to be celebrating this 20th anniversary with our amazing customers who make this all possible.”
Today’s Growing Communities Market supports 20 small-scale, climate-friendly farmers and producers (mainly within 70 miles of London) and its farmer-focused approach means the all the money goes to the farmers (in a conventional food system it’s as little as a penny in every pound.
Growing Communities also runs a veg box scheme offering organic or biodynamic seasonal produce. And, when they’re not growing, sorting, weighing and packing, the team campaign for a better food system.
Anthony Ferguson ,founder of Niko B Chocolates, who trades at the market, said: “From top to bottom the market lives its values: a leader in the organic food movement, a true partner to the diverse communities it serves, social enterprise, affordable and they care.
“When an organisation is true to its values you can feel it, its palpable and not simply words on placards."
A recent survey found that 76 per cent of shoppers are happier after their visit than when they arrive, compared with just one per cent of shoppers at a local supermarket.
To mark the anniversary a series of events are being organised:
· A celebration day with free tasters (first come first served) on Saturday May 13th and a tour of the market on the same day at 11am.
· On Wednesday May 17th Stoke Newington Bookshop will host a talk about the future of food with leading regenerative farmer Marina O’Connell.
· In July guests are invited to join a tour of Ripple Farm in Canterbury to see small scale sustainable farming in action. Date to be confirmed!