From grime to growth: Hackney is a winner

Supplied picture © Growing Communities

ONCE KNOWN for grime and crime, Hackney has just been put in lights for food once more likely too have been grown on farms in Kent or East Anglia.

The Soil Association has named Hackney Salad, grown by Growing Communities (GC), fruit-and-veg product of the year.

The Hackney social enterprise beat competition from organic producers throughout the UK.

Judges described Hackney Salad as “fresh and diverse, crunchy, summery”. Its “ great mix of leaves” made it the best-looking. [Yep, even salads in this area are hip.Ed]

More than 120 varieties of leaves and edible flowers went into the award-winning salad, which is available to members of GCs’ community-led organic box scheme. The scheme has 12 pick-up points in Hackney, including the Castle Climbing Centre in Stoke Newington N4 2HA and the Eastern Curve Garden in Dalston E8 3DF.

Pizza Sodo in Clapton, Frizzante at Hackney City Farm, the Red Route Cafe in Clapton and the Russet are among local restaurants that use GC vegetables.

Since starting on a plot in Clissold Park in 1997, GC  has set up  more urban market gardens – in Springfield Park E5 9EF and in Allens Gardens in Bethune Road N16 5BD.

One of its farms, Patchwork, spread across nine sites in Hackney, is worked by graduates of GCs’ urban-apprentice scheme. Last year they produced more than a tonne of salad. [Vegeterrible heaven.Ed]

Hamish Scott 220913

* Growing Communities is holding open days at its Clissold Park and Allens Gardens in Bethune Road sites today Sunday 22 September 2013 until 5pm. Free entry.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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