Growing Food

Our Growing Food work began as a two-year programme called Plot to Plate (2012-14) funded by the Big Lottery Fund Local Food scheme which aimed to transform the food culture of tenants and participants by making locally grown food more accessible, developing skills and promoting healthier lifestyles more

The project enables tenants and participants to grow and cook wholesome food and promote health and environmental benefits to their peers and the wider community.

Participants learn about growing, tending, and harvesting crops and how to make use of seasonal produce through pickling as well as drying herbs and making sauces, soups, smoothies and jams. We introduced a new menu cycle to the community cafes featuring seasonal produce, much of it grown on the premises. We use a permacultural approach, working with nature and avoiding pesticides.

The project also sources food from local producers and working with a wide range of partners such as Hackney’s St Mary’s Secret Garden, where participants have attended growing courses. Shoreditch Spa has advised the project on nutrition and diet.

The project was a runner up for a  City Bridge Trust/City of London Growing Localities Award 2013 in the gardening and growing food category. Our prize recognised projects that ‘use nature to enhance and improve local communities and in particular the lives of vulnerable or socially excluded people.’