Big Lottery Local Food Scheme

The Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme  allowed the Farm to work to improve access to home-grown food and promote healthy eating with local produce. We set up a cafe, shop and community kitchen for food education classes and use by local groups, ventures which continue to thrive and keep the Farm financially sustainable.

We established a thriving weekly Farmers’ Market for people from the local area and beyond to buy healthy and affordable food every Saturday.

The project team also carried out significant outreach work, cultivating new Urban Farms  for growing food on unused spaces around Tower Hamlets.

They created new raised beds to grow fruit and vegetables around the borough, including at a hospital with the Specialist Addiction Unit at Mile End, the Idea Store at Whitechapel and Bethnal Green Library, homes at Hawthorn Green Care Home, Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, with sheltered housing for older people at the Mosque Tower, part of the East London Mosque.

They even set up growing spaces on the roof of the Salvation Army’s Booth House Lifehouse.

Our latest space is at Half Moon, who provide the best in children’s and young people’s theatre.

Our Urban Farmers took care of these spaces to help more people make locally-grown food accessible and affordable. We gave priority to unemployed people to be Urban Farmers, offer expert training and supply plants to aid journeys back into employment.

Back on the Farm, food production more than doubled, opening up dozens of new volunteering opportunities. We also started selling our own meat for the first time from our sheep, goats and pigs.

We showcased the Local Food project during Urban Food Fortnight with special events, an exhibition, meals, tours, talks and visits.