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22 October 2012

Stoke Newington social enterprise scoops award

HACKNEY-based social enterprise Growing Communities has been named the UK's best independent retailer in The Observer Food Monthly Awards 2012.

It was recognised for work to promote sustainability; running Stoke Newington Farmers' Market; and its pioneering fruit and vegetable box scheme.

The awards, announced on 18 October, are voted for by Observer readers and celebrate the best food, food producers and food campaigners nationwide.

Growing Communities started off as a box scheme set up by Hackney residents over 17 years ago, and grew into the UK's only weekly, organic farmers' market where shoppers can buy fantastically fresh meat and fish, seasonal fruit and vegetables, and other foodstuffs direct from the producers.

The organisation now has 26 part-time staff members, 750 box scheme customers, and has rolled out a programme to enable other communities in the UK to set up similar models.

Growing Communities Director, Julie Brown, revealed she was particularly proud to have won an award thanks to the people that buy and eat their food.

She said: "It's sometimes hard when you're slogging away day in day out, harvesting salad in the rain and packing over a thousand bags of fruit and veg every week to remember why we're doing what we do.

"It's a real vote of confidence that box scheme members and farmers' market customers not only appreciate the food we supply, but also support our efforts to change the food system into one that is fairer and more sustainable."

For more, call: 020 7502 7588; or visit: www.growingcommunities.org

Buy produce direct from growers at Stoke Newington Farmers Market

Buy produce direct from growers at Stoke Newington Farmers Market

Buy produce direct from growers at Stoke Newington Farmers Market

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