With their weekly vegetable box service, Stepney City Farm is offering a taste of rural life for city dwellers. For just £2 per “Stepney Greens” box, you sign up for a year and each week you can come and pick up a box of cooking greens and salad leaves.
“At the moment we are in our trial year with just ten participants,” explains the farm’s Chief Executive, Kevin Moore. “It’s going very, very well so we’ll roll that out to a larger number next year.”
The only problem with the service is that demand is now so great. “We deliberately did it in a smaller number so we knew we could cope but I think what we need to look at is how far we can expand it that people can still actually get fresh produce. It’s very difficult because we have a very limited amount of growing space, and we also have a café to service. The café uses all the fresh produce as well, so it’s just getting a balance, of trying to provide as much fresh nutritious local food to as many people as possible.”
Aside from providing fresh produce, the main focus of the farm is on education. “We want to get as many people involved in, or seeing, what a farm is like. We have a great school project at the moment where young people grow their own wheat, we then mill that wheat, then we make the bread to make sandwiches. So they’re actually going through the whole cycle. Grow your own sandwich!
“We work with all the local schools, and quite a few beyond, Waltham Forest, Newham, and quite a few beyond the city as well, so we have quite a large area and several boroughs that we work with across east London”
Stepney City Farm is one of the few city farms with a slaughter policy. “We have one very large female pig, and we used to have a few others but now they’re…” Kevin points to the kitchen, “…in the freezer.” He sees this as an important part of their education ethos.
“Kids see a pig and they don’t connect that to their bacon sarnie, you know, but it’s reality. The better the education, the better the freedom of choice.”
The farm is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays
Farm: 10am – 4pm
Café: 9.30am – 2.30pm (Wednesday – Friday)
10am – 4pm (Saturday and Sunday)
For more details, visit their website at http://stepneycityfarm.org/