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Black Friday is almost upon us and so too is all the associated waste and pollution. Did you know the name originates from the toxic emissions produced by shoppers stuck in road traffic? And rubbish soars by 25% between Black Friday and Christmas? What's more, you might not be saving as much as you think. According to Which? research most Black Friday deals can be found at the same price or cheaper at other times during the year. At Growing Communities, we think enjoying the festive season shouldn't have to come at the expense of the planet. So in the spirit of mindful (not mindless) consumption, here's some inspiration for sustainable Christmas gifts that give back to local makers and producers. Wave goodbye to fast fashion, plastic wrapped everything and mass-produced tat and say hello to the Growing Communities conscious Christmas gift guide for 2022! This year we've included a smorgasbord of gifting options from Haringey and Hackney, and we've signposted some festive events hosted by our wonderful veg scheme collection points.
The Growing Communities Farmers' Market
Every Saturday, 10am-2.30pm until Saturday 24 December (The Christmas Eve Market on Saturday 24 December runs from 10am-1pm)
St Paul's Church, N16 7UE
Of course we think our market is the best place to start with your Christmas shopping! Not only can you stock up on seasonal food for all your feasting needs, you can also buy lots of great, ethical, local, handmade gifts in the weeks running up to Christmas. If you're thinking of gifting festive hampers to your loved ones, then you'll find all you need here!
Looking for more locally made gifts? Check out our round-up of Christmas markets, fairs and pop-ups happening across Hackney and Haringey below, with many hosted by or near our veg scheme collection points. Listings are in date order.
Made by Tottenham Pop-up Shop - Haringey
Peruse an array of items ranging from prints to homeware to children's bit, jewellery and more from around 40 independent businesses, with most items priced under £30. Look out for their festive-themed workshops and meet the maker sessions too. The Trampery Tottenham | 23 November - 10 December | Hours vary
Flat Earth Pizza sustainable gift shop - Tower Hamlets, by Cambridge Heath station
A teeny, tiny grotto of sustainable and seasonal goodness. Shop for wreaths, textiles, books and cards. Cambridge Heath Road | Now till 24 December | Hours vary
Castle Christmas Fest '22 - Hackney
No climbing experience necessary for this artisan market featuring ethically sourced gifts, local bakers and more mulled wine than you can shake a cinnamon stick at. There will also be a climbing treasure hunt and an after party with a fire and marshmallows, DJs and a festive bar. Castle Climbing Centre | Saturday 3 December | 12-5pm/ 8pm-late
Grow's Festive Future Fair // Eco Market - Hackney
Enjoy live tunes while you browse organic clothing, handmade prints and more independent, ethically sourced goodies from our popular canal-side collection point Grow. Grow Hackney | Saturday 3 December | 1pm-5pm
Christmas Community Stall - Hackney
Abney Park will have a small stall selling Christmas cards, knitted items, Abney Park merchandise and much more. Grab a mincepie and warm up after on one of their walking tours. Abney Park Trust | Saturday 3 December | 11am-12noon
Chocolate Factory open studios - Hackney
Take a look behind the scenes of this thriving community of artists and designer-makers. Meet the artists and buy direct from their studios.Farleigh Place N16 7SX | Sunday 4 December | 11am-6pm
E5 Makers Market - Hackney
Again the focus is sustainable and ethical goods from local makers. Plus you're bound to leave here with some delicious baked goods. 396 Mentmore Terrace | Sunday 4 December | 11am-4pm
Myddleton Road Winter Festival - Haringey
Myddleton Road will be buzzing with festive cheer thanks to a Santa's Grotto, live music and more. Myddleton Road | Sunday 4 December | 12pm-5pm
Blue House Yard Christmas Market - Haringey
Support the small traders at Blue House Yard before grabbing a mulled wine and getting cosy on the top deck at Ludos. Blue House Yard | Saturday 17 December
Hackney Bridge Christmas Markets - Hackney
Look out for these festive markets curated by the Made by Tottenham team. Hackney Bridge | 17 and 18 December
December at the Curve Garden - Hackney
If you thought the Curve Garden was pretty in summer, just wait until the festive season! The trees will be festooned with lanterns for the annual Festive of Light. Plus there will be a candle-making fundraiser for Hackney Winter Night Shelter (Sunday 1 December | 3pm-6pm) and a festive singalong with the Boiler House Singers (Thursday 19 December | 7pm-8.30pm)
Build you own hamper
For the foodie in your life, you can't go wrong with something edible and what says “comfort and joy” better than a festive hamper of organic foods? There are so many delicious things at Growing Communities Farmers' Market you can fill a hamper with – pears from Pear Necessities, apple juice from Peach & Pippin, granola, chocolates, honey, jams, seasonal kimchi and kombucha from Re:Organics, dried mushrooms from the Mushroom Table, plus Bath Soft Cheese. Sorted!
Why not sign yourself or your pals up for a bag of seasonal veg in time for your Christmas dinner? GC’s last veg bags of the year are double-value bags featuring all your Christmas dinner essentials, so you can tuck into golden roasties, buttery brussels and all your festive faves while ensuring your plate is free from pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and farmer exploitation. Join the veg scheme by 14 December to ensure you don't miss out on Christmas veggies. Join our community here.
Alternatively, if you'd prefer to pick and choose the ingredients for your festive feast, come along to the Farmers' Market, where you'll find an amazing array of organic, sustainably-grown produce. From brussels sprouts to red cabbage, victory spuds (the best for roasting), herbs and more.
Sycamore Smyth Delivery Supper Clubs
Want a healthy, home-cooked grub without any of the effort of cooking it? Try Sycamore Smyth's ready meals prepared using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
Love cheese but off dairy? Treat yourself to the Christmas cheese collection from the Wood Green-based vegan cheese maker Honestly Tasty, which specialises in some of the best cruelty-free cheese we've tried.
The Tottenham-based Cinnamon Leaf has a great selection of hampers to suit every foodie in your life, including options for vegan and gluten-free diets. Their signature hamper is bursting with yummy products celebrating African and Caribbean heritage.
If you want to move away from giving people more stuff that they probably don't need, what about giving them an experience?
Did you know Tottenham has its very own ceramics centre? Book a class with friends and make each other something special.
London School of Furniture Making
The London School of Furniture Making offers in-person classes, courses and taster sessions in woodworking, cabinet making and furniture making based near Tottenham Hale. There are gift cards available in their gift shop, plus a very handy splinter-removal kit.
The Made By Tottenham directory is a great place to look for local art that supports Tottenham's creatives. Want to get hands-on yourself? Join one of their craft, mending or drawing workshops.
Brush up your cooking skills with online classes from Made in Hackney. They also offer gift cards.
e5 Bakehouse classes
Choose from a range of sourdough courses, flatbreads, fermentation and jam-making.
Learn to sew, weave and knit at Make.town studio in Hackney Central – they offer a range of courses and sell craft kits and materials.
Learn delicious and authentic recipes from around the world, practise a different language and meet new people for a cultural exchange online and in person.
Migrateful’s cookery classes help support migrants and refugees struggling to rebuild their lives. They also offer gift vouchers.
London Green Wood @ Hackney City Farm
This not-for-profit cooperative and community of green woodworkers brings heritage crafts to the heart of the city to make basic woodcraft skills available to all. They run courses for adults, families or group bookings.
Who doesn't want to snuggle up with a good book after all the festivities are over? Here's what the GC staff team recommend:
Unearthed: On Race and Roots and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong
Claire Ratinon's wonderful second book is the powerful and beautifully told story of how she found belonging through growing plants and reconnecting with nature. Having discovered the joy of food growing on a rooftoop in Brooklyn, Claire returned to London and became a GC growing trainee and patchwork farmer for a while before moving to East Sussex and putting down deeper roots in every sense.
Why Women Grow - Stories of Soil, Sisterhood and Survival
An exciting new book from gardening columnist Alice Vincent on why women are drawn to the soil, featuring contributions from fellow green-fingered gals. Get your pre-orders in now.
If you know someone who enjoyed Isabella Tree's Wilding then they'll love this book which continues the rewilding theme but is set in the Lake District.
A riveting read tracing the world's rarest foods. Dan Saladno examines the chain of destructive events that puts them (and us) at risk while drawing attention to the global efforts to save them.
For the pal whose vase is always half full (with flowers), get them this gorgeous guide to growing blooms sustainably throughout the seasons from The Wolves Lane Flower Company, based in Wood Green.
Anyone on the GC veg scheme will be naturally drawn to this book which makes a convincing case for small-scale, low-carbon farming from farmer and writer Chris Smaje.
In the Garden Jungle Dave Goulson explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world. His latest work Silent Earth zooms in on those insects and details ways we can all do our bit to save them.
The Variety of Life by Nicola Davies & Lorna Scobie
A glorious celebration of diversity within the Animal Kingdom with something to delight on every page. This exquisite book will encourage children to treasure the world's biodiversity and help to stop it slipping away.
There are bugs everywhere by Britta Teckentrup
Young readers will learn where in the world all sorts of animals can be found and all the weird and wonderful things about them that they never imagined were true.
This local social enterprise grows herbs in a patchwork of sites around Hackney and from these they create unique herbal tea blends. The funds from the sales go towards free community activities in Hackney, which bring people together to learn, share knowledge and be inspired by the power of plants.
If you can't make it down to the market on 3 or 17 December then you can always purchase their excellent range of tea towels, aprons, tote bags and other household items, adorned with iconic images and quotes from the progressive leading lights of our radical history, from the suffragettes to Nelson Mandela. A perfect gift for the radical in your life.
Ethically crafted apparel with quirky designs that are sometimes lighthearted, and sometimes provocative. With each purchase a donation is made to a UK animal sanctuary! Perfect gift for the vegan in your life.
Green Soul Grace sells bright, beautiful reusable products and good value zero waste starter sets. She features in this post, celebrating local black-owned creative businesses.
Wood Green-based stationary brand Woodle Books, sells journals carrying feminist slogans.
Landworkers Alliance 2023 calendar - "On Common Ground", featuring 12 beautiful, original lino cuts by Rosanna Morris. Profits are used to fund the brilliant campaiging work of the organisation. Check out their other gift suggestions, including socks, notebooks, cards and cups in their online shop.
Vital Seeds – a seed company working to reverse the decline in seed biodiversity by producing UK-grown organic and open-pollinated seeds you can save your own seed from them year after year. They have a lovely Christmas gift section for the horticulturalist in your life.
Permaculture Association - membership, manual, courses T-shirts. Learn about and promote farming that regenerates people and communities.
Real Bread campaign - cookbooks, T-shirts, bags and more for the sourdough lover or soon-to-be baker in your life.
Living Wage Gift Guide - support businesses that pay their staff a real Living Wage.