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Urban farming has a significant part to play in a sustainable and fair food system for cities. This is something we’ve been actively developing over the last twenty years by creating our own urban growing sites in East London to grow salad for our veg scheme and other local businesses.
We wanted to share our knowledge and lessons learned so we teamed up with Capital Growth to launch a new guide - The Urban Farming Toolkit - that sheds a light on how to grow food in urban spaces to sell to urban communities. We launched in at the third annual Roots to Work conference, held on 23 November 2017.
The Toolkit was inspired by and led by our Urban Farmers, who run nine growing sites in Hackney – this year they produced almost 2200 kilograms of salad, sold through our veg scheme as well as to cafes and restaurants.
"We’re really excited to collaborate with Capital Growth to share our years of experience in setting up urban farms that grow food to sell in urban areas, and showing what’s possible in the city” said Sophie Verhagen, Head Grower at Growing Communities.
The toolkit was launched at Capital Growth’s Roots to Work event, which aimed to inspire people to establish new growing enterprises or kick-start their own careers in food. Sixty budding and experienced growers, representing 40 organisations, came together to share and learn top tips on how to make a living in the community food-growing sector.
At the event London’s leading urban farms, including Growing Communities’ Dagenham Farm, Organiclea and Sutton Community Farm, shared their wisdom with the crowd. The Community Food Growers Network also brought people together to see how we can support the sector to grow with the Federation of City Farms and Communities Gardens providing one-to-one advice sessions.
“Growing Communities have been inspiring Londoners to grow in the city for almost 20 years and we were delighted to share their learning with others at the event and now through this invaluable toolkit will give potential urban farmers access to tried and tested experience on how to ‘grow to sell' in an urban setting” explained Chris Speirs, Capital Growth Coordinator.
The toolkit covers
* Find and secure a suitable growing site
* Creating the garden
* Establish growing methods
* Find your market
* Creating the business
* Engaging the community
And you can download the toolkit here