Organic food ‘affordable for all’ in Hackney

Local community grows organic food to help borough.
Local community grows organic food to help borough. (Credit: Ben Dwyer)

Community project aims to make organic food more accessible for local people.

Hackney based organic food scheme, Growing Communities (GC), said that it wants to make organic food cheap and accessible for everyone in the borough.  

The community-led organisation runs urban farms and fruit and vegetable growing schemes, in the hope of achieving a sustainable and affordable local agriculture system.

Richenda Wilson, Marketing Coordinator at GC said: “organic food costs more to produce so we can’t compete with the price supermarkets charge for conventionally grown produce. But by keeping our costs low and our supply chains short, we can compare favourably with the prices they charge for organic produce… while also making sure we’re paying farmers what they need.”

In 2015, the child poverty rate in Hackney was 23.7%. This was the fourth highest rate of child poverty in London, making it difficult for many children to afford organic food.

The scheme’s October price comparisons showed that organic produce “cost 12% more at Ocado and cost 47% more at Wholefoods on Stoke Newington Church Street.”

Ms Wilson notes: “prices are even more affordable at the farmers’ market” and people can “meet the people who provide their food. People are very happy to know where their money is going.”

Ms Wilson says they want to “keep the scheme local and immersed in the community”. Nonetheless, they have shared their model with similar projects in places such as Lewisham and Kentish Town and are “applying for grant funding to make more impact”.