Founder & CEO
Community leader, visionary and unstoppable force with a big heart. Our founder Sunny has unlimited passion for creating unity and justice in our community through growing and sharing food. Since founding Edible London he has never looked back. Meet Sunny, our Founder and CEO.
Founder & CEO
Hi, I’m Sunny!
I’d like to start off by saying that even though people call me the creator of Edible London... I don’t believe I created it at all! It organically materialised. What started the growth sprout was my need to change the way I ate and viewed life, people and planet all rolled into one. I started the journey towards a different lifestyle and along the way, I sowed some seeds... and my community grew around them. We're now a tier 2 food provider as COVID-19 scaled our operation up in an unforeseeable way. As CEO of Edible London and a leader in the community, I am responsible for nurturing not only my staff but all those involved in our actions equally, and the roots of what EL is and should stay. I need to make sure that EL becomes regenerative and sustainable - not only in financial terms!
We've become a keystone organisation within the community. The importance of what we do beyond the food poverty realm has actually sunk in - people here now rely upon each other in a way they wouldn't have before. EL has connected dots that weren't even visible to each other before. I keep on getting stopped in the street and talked to by strangers, and all I receive is an onslaught of humble praise and acknowledgement for what EL does. They talk to me about how it has not only helped tackle food poverty but has also nourished people's minds, thus addressing the biggest issue we are all facing on a day to day basis (even more so at the moment!) which is mental health. For me to sit back and hear hundreds of people testify how EL has supported their mental wellbeing, given them the courage and drive to do something within their own community is nothing short of a miracle. I believe that our roots have taken hold in a strong way and that if you try to pull us up now, it would be a disaster!
Nothing I can ever do again in my life will have a bigger impact than that of Edible London. It has reformed my emotional wellbeing, and I no longer suffer from stress and anxiety. It may not look like it, but I am not a confident person - I just face my fears head on. Public speaking, being in group settings: these were things I struggled with my whole life - and now I absolutely relish being surrounded by people. It's taking care of my soul. I do give a lot to my community through this work, but I think the community should know what they have given to me: a sense of purpose, a reason to get out of my bed every day. It has changed and refined the word "work" for me: I don't see my commitments here as “work”, they are part of everything I do in my life, I live and breathe them. I feel very lucky that I get to wake up everyday and do exactly what I want to do for both people and the planet. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that EL has saved my life.
If I was an Edible plant, I would actually be a tree - a fig tree! Not because it has a lot of biblical connotations, but because it was the first tree that my father planted in our garden, back around 1969. Although it isn't native to the UK, in my time, I watched it grow and change - producing fruit in abundance. At one point for 13 years I cared for this tree, and trained the direction of one branch approximately 15 metres long. Off this tree, we got thousands and thousands of figs and hundreds of cuttings that we planted elsewhere. I'd like to think that whatever I create is full of sweet, sweet fruit that can be shared, and that my visions and actions can be taken anywhere else and replicated - in any place or climate!
Chief Sales & Logistics Officer
From helping with our farming projects to managing corporate surplus donations and heading up our market operations, Tammy is a woman with many Edible hats and the kindest person you could ever meet! Ever since meeting Sunny three years ago at Wolves Lane Horticultural centre Tammy and her family have provided masses of support in helping make Sunny’s vision a reality. Meet Tammy, our Chief Sales & Logistics Officer.
Chief Sales & Logistics Officer
Hi, I’m Tammy!
Three years ago I went to buy vegetables at the Wolves Lane Horticultural centre. I was wandering through the greenhouses and came across Sunny, with whom I started talking. He told me of his dreams and vision of what he hoped to achieve there - and I was absolutely captivated by what he was saying! I went back every Sunday after that, with my children, to volunteer and the rest is history as they say! I’m now a director - I’m in charge of the markets. I make sure that all our harvest is ready, looking good and that its prices are sorted in time for market days. I set up the stall and sell our produce to the local community in three different markets with the help of my daughter. I also collect food donations from different stores, that are then sorted and sent out to food banks and community kitchens.
We are so valuable to the local community - we help thousands of people a week by giving them fresh, nutritious food. We are locally beneficial, but more widely so as awareness raisers and a real-life inspiration!
I believe that I'm a kind person - I have always wanted to care for others and help out. But my commitment with EL has made me appreciate things a lot more: I have struggled quite a bit in my life and to see that I wasn't alone in that situation and that now can help so many is a blessing. It has given me the opportunity to give help with a much wider reach.
If I were a vegetable - or, actually, a fruit! - I would be a tomato - I love them absolutely every way. Cooked, not cooked, in a sauce or a salad. On toast. They are so versatile and easy to save from going to waste - just chuck them in a pan and fry them up!
Chief Operating Officer
It is impossible to sum up Victoria’s fire, passion and energy in just a few words! Victoria has boundless enthusiasm for life, always smiling and making every single person who comes through our doors feel part of the Edible London family. Zero waste and zero negativity is Victoria’s catch phrase, committed to ensuring all our operations have minimal impact to people and planet. With all this spirit, passion and energy miracles occur on a daily basis! Meet Victoria, our Chief Operations Officer.
Chief Operating Officer
I started my exciting journey with Sunny and Edible London more than one and a half year ago at Wolves Lane Horticultural Centre.
After two years living and working in a busy city like London, I needed something different to be a part of, a new focus, fresh air, a new spring in my life - so it is that a strong desire to get to know my neighbours, the area where I live and to give something back to my community, led me to knock on the Edible London doors.
As Edible London Chief Operating Officer, some of my main duties are, among others: to coordinate the ReDistribution Department, and the process of surplus sorting and quality control of the food that we receive and give away, to make sure that all the health and safety protocols are in place, to welcome new volunteers and to make sure they feel safe and appreciated within a huge family.
Edible London encourages organisations and individuals to work together, to help each other, empowering people to become leaders in their communities.
We turn city spots into pop up gardens, where fruits, herbs and vegetables, grow organically. We save tones of food of going into a landfill redistribute it all around London, increasing the awareness of the food waste that our economic system promotes, and the harmful consequences of excess packaging on the environment. We work with hundreds of volunteers with different skills and backgrounds, that have the opportunity to get involved in different projects, developing an understanding of teamwork as community work.
The volunteers acquire knowledge, skills and experience that can be useful for their own lives and for future employment - and many of them, that started their journey with Edible London have put in place their own community projects, and are now helping others to do the same.
Our goal to end food poverty is based on anything else than community work and solidarity, the most necessary and powerful weapons we have as human beings to help each other.
As an individual, I have to say that it feels really good to help others, and that Sunny is an inspiration for me in this matter.
He’s unique, all heart and good intentions. His positive endless energy and charisma are contagious. Always smiling and getting excited for every single act of humanity that surrounded us. I´ve never met anyone like him.
I’ve always had his support, understanding and love during my journey with Edible London, just as he’s always had mine. Sunny trusted me since the day we met, and he proved it by giving me the opportunity to become a leader in Edible London during the most difficult and unusual time we´re going through at the moment.
When the first lockdown started, we had to put rapidly put in place an unprecedented food emergency response. From seven volunteers helping a few families per week, we became hundreds of active volunteers per day within a month, helping to provide ingredients to feed an average of 55,000 people per week. Sunny had enough just dealing with beneficiaries, providers, and deliveries, so he put me in charge of the organisation of the floor and coordination of volunteers. I still have the piece of that cardboard box that he cut on the 25th of March 2020 to write down on it: “Today´s team leader is Victoria”. That was the first day of my life as a community leader in a huge project and, since that day, I´ve been working tirelessly, developing new skills and building on existing experience and knowledge to keep proudly living up to that piece of cardboard.
Sunny and I are two passionate people with common goals, and positive endless energy. I think we crossed paths for a reason, and I can´t be more grateful for it.
“If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.”
(Martin Luther King Jr.)
If I was a vegetable, without a doubt, I would be a tomato. I’m only 80% away from becoming one after all!
Find me on LinkedIn
Head of Outreach & Procurement
Chris helps source the best surplus produce for the Edible London team to sort through and redistribute. After being in the family fruit and veg business for over 20 years Chris is passionate about creating a fairer, less wasteful food system. He has recently launched ‘Street Box’ in partnership with Edible London, in order to help tackle food waste and provide healthy fresh produce to those who need it. Meet Chris SK our Head of Outreach and Procurement.
Head of Outreach & Procurement
Hi, I’m Chris!
My family has been in the fresh fruit and veg business for over 20 years and Sunny's family supplied us with fresh herbs for many of those. I had always been interested in food and surplus so being a part of EL's journey just made sense. I joined up around 2 years ago after a decisive discussion with Sunny - I started out by lending EL a van and it sort of mushroomed from there, especially since the covid-crisis. I'm now one of the directors and I help sourcing surplus fruit and vegetables that will then be sorted by our incredible volunteers to be made edible again. I focus on trying to find produce that is cost-effective and has a high nutritional value. I get to pick and choose everything that then is sent out to our beneficiaries - I basically go shopping every day!
There are organisations out there that tackle food waste and food poverty, and some that focus on growing projects - but to me, EL tackles all of these issues with such a strong sense of community connexion, and that makes the difference. Staff, benefactors, beneficiaries and volunteers all become a part of the big EL family - and that is core to EL's success I think.
Sunny has been so influential to me. The way that he grew EL from just the love of doing it (and how it flourished!) is an inspiration for my everyday life now. It has for example led me to creating StreetBox, a social enterprise that "gives back what it sells". He has made me think more about follow up & impact - just because you think you are doing a good job doesn't necessarily mean you are, so I am much more conscious of this. I feed off his energy to get things done - I have embraced his positive outlook of "let's take on the world" wholeheartedly and believe it to be so true: if you pull yourself together and have a common goal, then that thing that has to be done will get done!
If I were a vegetable I would be a kohlrabi - because it's the underdog (+ it was one of the first surplus items we put in Streetbox!). It tastes great, light, sweet and radish-like - but people just don't use it as so little is known about it! I see this unassuming veg as educational: I'm sure if people were to get to know it and try it they would find it awesome.
Head of Farming & Community Engagement
Our incredible Head Farmer, Chris has been involved in Edible London since the beginning and is dedicated to the mission of tackling food poverty and malnutrition in our community. Caring for plants and for people is Chris’ passion and he strives to create fun, inclusive environments for our volunteers to come and learn about growing and nurturing plants. Meet Chris our Head Farmer.
Head of Farming & Community Engagement
Hi, I’m Chris!
Growing up I was always inspired by my grandfather. His family lost a lot during WW2 after which he came over to the UK as a refugee. This was probably why he could see the value and use of anything - often bringing home what could be considered to be "embarrassing junk" all the while claiming with stars in his eyes that it would “soon become a new table”, or how it would help him fix this or that object. He was what would be called nowadays an “upcycling hero” I guess. But it didn’t only apply to objects: in general, he would never let things go to waste. He was very much aware of the impact of our consumerist ways on the environment - he loved nature and would often say "if you can prevent any damage, do so. If you can do something positive do it!". This was embedded in me from quite a young age but I’ll admit I never had something to channel these thoughts and this positive energy into until I discovered Edible London through Sunny, a childhood friend. Finally, I had in front of me an opportunity to help and give something positive back into the community. I'm sure if my grandad could see what I'm doing now he would be so happy about it.
I am the head farmer at EL which means that I manage all the growing sites - I make sure that they are receiving enough love and care - mostly from our amazing teams of volunteers! I ensure that volunteering sessions are as fun, active, and educational as possible, that seeds are sown at the right time, that we have enough variety in the things we grow, and that we harvest bang on time for our market days. More generally I'd say that my role is to inspire more people to get involved in gardening & growing their own food.
Our work is not only necessary, it's essential. I grew up in London in a working-class environment and sometimes lived through tough financial situations. I have witnessed first hand the struggle to put a decent meal made from fresh food on the table and maintain a wholesome nutritional diet when the going gets rough. I understand that people aren't always aware of what good food is and what is beneficial to their health. It is vital to raise awareness around malnutrition, food poverty, and food waste in order to tackle them head-on.
At EL we are redirecting food from burning in an incinerator or rotting away as landfill to feeding people who need it. The effort that goes into producing good food (without even considering the sorting, packaging, and transport) is immense and it's massively disrespectful to farmers to be wasting all this food - and such a waste of energy. EL only touches the tip of the iceberg, but creating community engagement around these issues will, I hope, eventually build up to general awareness. That’s what we’re about: showing people from the root up that they can play an important part.
Working with EL has had a two-sided impact on me. The first of which is pure shock. I remember the first day I went to collect surplus from just a single store: seeing how much we got, that otherwise would have been thrown out... That was a real slap in the face moment. I always knew that food was being wasted but I never really had an idea of the sheer volume of it - and maybe that's because stores (especially supermarkets and big food chains) keep it hush-hush. But who wouldn't? It's an outrage! It made me very uncomfortable to discover that nothing is really being done about it.
But the second side of the impact that EL has had on me is pure inspiration, embodied by Sunny. He led me to see that if you have the willpower, then something good can come out of all this bad. He is a great, loving, and caring guy: he always tries to lift people out of dark places - when he sees something that's broken he just has to fix it... If he can lend a hand to someone, he will. He wants to see good achieved in his community. Witnessing his journey and being a part of it has been amazing. I am a more positive person, more aware. It's been a massive eye-opening experience, it's an honour to be part of this adventure and Sunny's mission!
Out of all the edible plants I would choose to be a Jamaican thyme. It has an amazing aroma, a delicious taste, and its leaves are lovely and soft. I try to be gentle to people and create a pleasant atmosphere to make them at ease and relaxed around me - Jamaican thyme leaf-tea is extremely relaxing!
It is also a delicate plant in this climate, as it doesn't like the cold so you need to take good care of it - and I believe I flourish if you give me care and attention too!