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Stokey fruit and veg company transforming school meals

 School meals at a Stoke Newington primary school have become a whole lot greener thanks to a partnership with Growing Communities.


Children at Sir Thomas Abney Primary and Harrington Hill Primary are now tucking into meals with fresh, organic and locally-grown fruit and veg supplied by Growing Communities’ not-for-profit wholesale business The Better Food Shed.  The project is being overseen by local chef James Taylor of Chefs in Schools.


James said: "It’s been one of my dreams to be able to use affordable, locally farmed organic produce in my primary schools and thanks to Better Food Shed and Growing Communities, it’s finally happening,


"My long-term plan is to serve 100% organic food in schools.”


"I’ve made the wording on my menus a bit more flexible to allow for the changes in seasonal vegetables.


“Saying ‘seasonal greens’, ‘local fruit crumble’, ‘bean salad’ or ‘roasted roots’ on the menu gives me the option of changing the ingredients depending on availability."


It’s the latest in a line of positive social steps by Growing Communities. The business, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, is a huge supporter of Hackney Foodbank – in the past five years they’ve donated more than 25 tonnes of fresh produce for people in crisis.


They’re also part of a pilot scheme ‘Bridging the Gap’ – run by Sustain, this campaign in Tower Hamlets is making organic and climate-friendly food more accessible to people on low incomes.


As well as running a weekly farmers’ market at St Paul’s Church on Stoke Newington High St (Saturdays 10am-2.30pm), Growing Communities also offers a subscription veg box scheme.


The fresh produce is sourced direct from 23 small and medium organic UK farms, many of which are within 70 miles of East London.  They hope to expand their service to offer an educational programme to help young people understand where their food comes from and who grows it.


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