The Growing Communities Farmers' Market
Every Saturday, 10am to 2.30pm - St Paul's Church, Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7UY.
Come and buy direct from small sustainable farmers and growers at our weekly farmers’ market, just up the road from Dalston. All our farmers are either organic or bio-dynamic. Because we want to support our farmers at the same time as making sure customers know where produce has come from, we ask processors to source most of their ingredients from the farmers at the market or to use local organic flour. So when you shop at the market, not only do you get delicious food but you are also helping to support small, sustainable farms and farmers around London.
Most of the farmers come from within 60 miles of the market. By buying direct from the producers you can find out exactly how your food was produced and these small farmers can get the regular income that they need to flourish.
We sell organic raw milk, butter, cheeses, yogurt and cream, organic breads, lovely organic veg from Kent and Essex, salad leaves, seasonal fruit, exotic mushrooms, seafish, cakes, homemade pasta, chocolates, ice-cream, eggs and organic meat from sustainable family farms. Local producers sell homemade gozleme and creole fritters to eat there or take away. Or you can enjoy a mushroom sandwich or an all-day breakfast alongside a latte from the cafe. Read more about our producers...
Reducing your carbon footprint
All our farmers at the market are organic or biodynamic. Organic farming can help cut greenhouse emissions: it uses less water and less energy than conventional farming, which is heavily dependent on the high-energy processes and fossil fuels used to produce fertilisers and pesticides. We believe that organic food production is also better for wildlife, livestock, people and the environment. The success of the market has enabled several of the farmers who attend the market to take on more land and convert it to organic production - over 400 acres has been converted since May 2003 when the market started. We now support a total of 23 small family-run farms and food businesses through the market. Most customers get to the market on foot, by bike or on public transport - 92% in our most recent survey - which means that the market is also helping to cut down on car journeys.
Because all the produce here has been grown, reared or produced by the people who are selling it, you can find out everything you want to know about the food and how it was grown or cooked. The money you spend goes directly to the people who actually do the work to produce the food you're eating - the farmers and makers - rather than supermarkets and wholesalers.
Supporting ultra-local producers
As well as supporting farmers from close to London, over the past few years we have also worked with food producers from around Hackney to help them set up and develop products to sell at the market. Current local producers include Hatice Trugrul who makes traditional Turkish gozleme from market ingredients; Global Fusion, who offer Creole-style vegan cakes and soda breads; Hackney Growers' Kitchen, who bake wonderful cakes and savoury snacks made from produce from Growing Communities' organic fruit and veg bag scheme; Anthony Ferguson of Niko B. Organic Chocolates, who creates chocolates flavoured with spices and seasonal fruits, and Primo e Ultimo whose fresh pasta, tiramisu and homemade ice-cream have built up a lot of fans.
While organic food is necessarily more expensive than food farmed conventionally because of the labour-intensive methods used to produce it, the farmers at the market charge a fair price for their produce and pay fair wages to the people who work for them. In June 2009, the Growing Communities Farmers' Market also became the first farmers' market in London to accept Healthy Start vouchers. The vouchers from the government-backed scheme for low-income families can be used in exchange for fresh vegetables, fruit and milk. Our fruit and veg bag scheme also accepts the vouchers in part payment for a veg or fruit bag.
Buying local also means you stay in touch with the seasons. There won’t be apples in May but, when they are in season, from August to March, the farmers will bring in many different varieties. You’ll also find seasonal produce you may not have come across before, such as sloes, medlars, wild mushrooms and raw cow's milk. Have a good look round the market before you buy – just to check what’s in season – if you don’t know how to cook something just ask!
Selling at the market
If you are interested in selling at the market, please see the Getting A Stall page.