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Hackney salad's journey from organic seed to nutritious salad bag: check out this wonderful film made by our former trainee Warami.
Four small market gardens make up the Patchwork Farm in Hackney where we grow salad and train new growers. You are welcome to visit our larger sites when we are working there, join our volunteer work team or buy produce and plants (Clissold site only). Depending on season and availability, we offer tomato and other veg plants, Hackney salad leaves, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and melons - direct from the farm and the freshest you can buy!
Our Clissold Park site (below) is open to the public when we are working there on Tuesdays. Have a look round and buy fresh-picked salad and plants. This site also boasts a polytunnel and in addition to tomatoes, cucumbers and beans, also specialises in melon growing! Find us in Clissold Park, between the birds and the goats, Stoke Newington, N16 9HJ.
Our Springfield Park site (below) is located in Springfield Park, Clapton E5 9EF. We work at Springfield on Mondays. In addition to its raised beds, Springfield also has a polytunnel which grows a variety of different salad crops in winter and then turns over to heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and basil.
Our Allens Gardens site is on the corner of Manor Road and Bethune Road, N16 5BD. There is a self-guided tour to allow you to find out more about what we are doing while allowing the growers to carry on working. Our Allens site also boasts an eco classroom, which features a fully operational compost toilet and a living sedum roof. The building is available for hire.
The last plot is Stellman Close near Hackney Downs.
Overall, the Patchwork Farm has increased the amount of locally and sustainably grown food in Hackney and helped growers generate an income from food production.
Every year we offer free six-month traineeships to enable keen future growers to experience the entire growing cycle from soil to seed to harvest to compost to soil again, via watering, weeding, worms and much more. We usually advertise the roles in late January.
Growing Communities started off with a demonstration growing plot in Clissold Park in 1997. After the park's refurbishment in 2010, we inherited the old butterfly tunnel, which we reskinned and turned into a productive polytunnel.
Our Springfield Park market garden opened in 2001 on the site of a yard formerly used by the park rangers. The polytunnel was constructed the same year. We used the Springfield greenhouses for veg production until they were declared unsafe in 2009.
We took over our site in Allens Gardens on Bethune Road, Stoke Newington in 2004. It replaced a previous site, further up Bethune Road, which we had to leave when the land was sold on for housing. We moved the entire site, which included most of the raised beds, the fruit trees, herbs and over seven tonnes of lovingly cultivated organic topsoil 400 metres down the road to Allens Gardens. The site had previously been home to burnt-out litter bins and a derelict container but is now a thriving learning garden - where - now you'll find raised beds full of salad leaves, organic fruit trees lining one wall, a pond, wildlife area, a greenhouse, a shed and our eco building.
The first "micro-site" was set up in October 2008 in the vicarage garden of St Paul’s West Hackney (now closed). Several more sites were set up as part of a development project funded by the Local Food Fund that ran from 2012 to 2014. All were set up on previously underused spaces on estates, private gardens and church land across Hackney.