This week we are taking a closer look at one of our wonderful suppliers that has changed their way of work to keep up with the ever so strange current climate!
“These difficult times have really highlighted the resilience of community food networks like ours – despite huge change and demand our supply chain has remained short and strong and while supermarket shelves have been empty we’ve been able to deliver quality, local food to people in our borough. Any excess or uncollected food bags are going to the Hornbeam in Walthamstow who are doing wonderful work providing free meals and groceries to those in need.”
Our main crops right now are our salad mix, rhubarb, spring garlic and asparagus, with radish and broad beans on the horizon. We’re not currently supplying any restaurants, but supply bags of salad to some local shops and the rest of our produce is going into our organic box scheme and onto our three market stalls in Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford.
Our box scheme fruit and veg bags contain super-local produce grown on our site in Chingford, plus seasonal vegetables sourced as locally as possible via the Better Food Shed, with a lot coming from farmers in the nearby counties of Essex, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex.
Find out more about OrganicLea’s Fruit and Veg Box Scheme here!
We would usually be selling food plants at our monthly Open Days, but have had to adapt – especially as so many people are now looking to grow their own this summer. We’ve now got an online store set up and selling tailored mixes of food plants for local residents: from our Balcony Collection designed for containers and small spaces to our Three Sisters mix of sweetcorn, squash and beans, inspired by a traditional Native American planting scheme. We’re a not-for-profit community organisation and so also have the option to add a ‘solidarity contribution’ which helps us deliver food plants to those experiencing financial hardship.
We’ve experienced a lot of support and gratitude from those we’ve helped to access fresh, locally grown food. We’ve had to limit our horticulture volunteering but have had so many people offer help – and box scheme customers coming in to help bag bags has been really appreciated!
A lot of our planting plans were designed with the restaurants we supply in mind, so we’ve had to adapt our distribution plans – luckily we’ve had an increase in customers to our market stalls and box scheme. We had a huge surge in box scheme sign-ups and had to limit new customers while our infrastructure could catch up.
We’ll soon be launching our cut flower CSA to help fund our biodiversity work, providing food and habitat for pollinators. By buying a subscription of freshly cut flowers through the summer, customers will be supporting us to create habitat and plant more flower forage for wild pollinator insects. Coming soon!
Update: OrganicLea have now launched their Flower CSA! Find more info here
To find out more about OrganicLea and what they do, you can visit their website here.