We are here to redefine our relationship with food - the way it's produced, distributed, consumed, and discarded - by focusing on education, regenerative local farming and the circular management of all resources. We also want to ensure that the communities we serve are resilient and are able to bounce back no matter the problems that they face. By sowing the right seeds, we safeguard and promote the right growth in our communities.
A big part of Edible London, as the name implies, is taking disused and derelict urban spaces and regenerating them from grey/barely green to beautiful edible gardens/growing spaces. We call this turning grey back to green, and by doing so we help to bring diverse, nutrient rich, locally grown plants back into our communities. Once revitalised, our growing sites also provide safe spaces for the community to connect back to nature, learn, grow and de-stress in urban environments where access to such space is typically lacking or not easily accessible. Let's make our lands edible.
In everything that we do, we try to prioritise and implement principles of zero waste and the circular management of all resources. One of the biggest areas that thrives under this approach is helping to prevent the landfilling of surplus produce. In short, thanks to our amazing quality control team, diverted surplus fruit & veg is separated into high quality produce that's either worthy of being given out to partner food banks/community cook up partners, or used in one of our compost sites to help create nutrient rich soil for the future, or sent for anaerobic digestion in food recycling facilities.
Keeping people and planet in mind - all of the time. This is what fostering resilience is all about. In order to have successful communities we need resilient individuals that are able to keep bouncing back no matter what they are faced with. With our specialist addiction counselling, youth engagement support, mentoring , coaching, and education, we offer people free access to vital support that helps keep our communities moving forward. Plus for all elements spoken about to the left, we offer meaningful volunteering opportunities for all those that wish to support our work.
A letter from our founder Sunny
Who am I? Why do I do what to do? For me it's simple: the world has seen enough pain and injustice, and it's time to heal it with love and food!
I am just a simple human, with a very complex vision. A vision many people said was impossible to achieve. Yet, by using kindness and cultivating an understanding for all, whilst being able to commit my time to regenerate spaces and grow food (and of course share it with those around me), Edible London has been able to grow from a grassroots organisation into the budding and flourishing forest that we see today.
Reflecting back on my childhood, something I held dear from my parents was my family home being the central point of all family get togethers (be it for birthday parties, BBQ's, and significant events alike), and it is something my dad would always endeavour to do, even if it meant sacrificing himself financially during difficult times. In any case, instilling these teachings I've learnt from my parents, when I started lighting the BBQs and cooking the veg we grew, it was amazing to witness many things beyond just the growth from the plants we harvested from; friendships being formed, hope being built, friends of friends joining in, to what organically became a group of amazing humans committed to not just growing food, but regenerating the land and bringing spaces to life with love and community. Growing more than just food: growing hope, growing love, growing trust, and tackling food injustice in our capital.
Now turning to a key part of Edible London, our food distribution hub - in which we were able to distribute over one million meals worth of ingredients in the space of just 8 months - despite its success, if I'm honest, I feel ashamed. How is it that we, as humans with all this so called 'wealth' and 'intelligence', still live in a world that is plagued by a problem like food poverty. Just look at our agricultural land use for example: 77% is used for meat & dairy yet meat & dairy only provide us with 18% of the global calorie supply, with plant-based foods just needing 23% of land to provide over 82% of calories. How have we become so blindsided by what matters most. Put simply, if the land we currently use to grow and feed livestock was given to groups like Edible London to grow plant-based foods instead, we would have enough food to not just feed the world once over, but twice, and even three times over, if we so needed. Even just getting a slither of this 77% could make a huge difference. So to be clear, my vision is not to tackle food poverty, it's to eradicate it, making edible our lands. Starting first with London! At the same time sowing the seeds for a stronger more resilient future for all; be it both on a personal and community wide level.
Pre Covid-19, none of the Edible London executive team were paid a penny, and without minuscule funding, we proved that with the power of love, trust, commitment, community, and the utilisation of my 20 years of expertise in the growing and selling of food, an amazing organisation can be born. And an organisation so adaptable that it was able to scale up from distributing 200 meals’ worth of ingredients a week, to 50 thousand, and all in the matter of weeks; as part of a critical emergency food response during the first lockdown. From a seven-volunteer distribution hub at Wolves Lane, to over 350 volunteers with an executive team distributing out of Tottenham Hotspur's stadium and then the Great Hall of Alexandra Palace. Amazing! Now, as I sit here and write this letter, we have eight people on the payroll, hundreds of amazing volunteers still active, and our very own temporary headquarters at Stamford Hill distributing over 25 thousand meals worth of ingredients every single week.
Being funded and supported to change the world into a better more fruitful place - sounds too good to be true, hey? Being at the helm of this, I can tell you this is hard for me to grasp and understand myself. It's like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaatt???? This whole journey has been the most exhilarating experience of my life and nothing short of a miracle. To see how a grassroots organisation has transitioned into a regenerative keystone organisation in the face of a pandemic has been astonishing. We scaled up operations beyond my wildest dreams - whilst at the same time tackling climate issues along the way by being mindful to both people and planet in all that we do.
Anyway, after more than 20 years of growing experience (with the passion to always learn and grow), my aim is to empower food production on a much bigger scale, and bring to life the statement: “give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish, and he will eat for life”, or rather: "give someone some veg and they'll eat for a day, teach them how to grow veg and they'll eat for life, along with feeding many others in the process".
And to some how bring this letter to a close, I would just like to say some concluding remarks: Don't believe, say you can! Knowledge is true success so never stop learning, and never stop growing. Plus, remember, we are all we have on this earth, this is it. There must be more we can do together to change this corporate robotic concrete jungle of a society we live in. I need your help to make London edible, but this is just the start, what's coming is incrEdible.
Big love to you all, always!
Although we understand that we do not live in a perfect world, and that we as humans can never be perfect, we have tried to lay out what we deem as perfect principles to help govern everything we do here at Edible London. In all that we do, wherever we work, we try to act according to the following underlying principles and understandings:
Zero tolerance to any negative attitude around the plants or each other.
Help and connect people in any way possible and bring communities back together with effective hands-on outreach projects
All people are welcome, with no discrimination or judgmental behaviour.
Support people of all circumstances with free, organically grown vegetables and surplus from partnering companies.
Up-cycle as many materials as possible and zero tolerance toward food waste. If it cannot be cooked, frozen or made into a preserve, it will contribute to our many active compost heaps
Promote wellbeing and mindfulness to all who welcome it and at the same time respect every individual's opinions or beliefs. Look after our planet and those who eat from it.