A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

May celebration

Open Day at Hawkwood Nursery:

12-4pm plant stall and seasonal gardening activity, ‘The Joys of Weeding’, using a variety of tools
1-2pm lunch, soup available by donation
2-3pm talk by Iain Tolhurst
3-4pm site tour

This month’s Open Day on Sunday 26 May at Hawkwood Plant Nursery is a celebration! Our first fully certified organic produce has been harvested from the site, and the day will feature a presentation by acclaimed organic farmer Iain Tolhurst. Iain Tolhurst has been a practising organic vegetable producer for over 37 years, one of the original pioneers of the organic movement in the UK. He has taught and written extensively on ‘stock free’ farming (increasing fertility without animal inputs) and using plants to increase biodiversity to create resilient growing systems.

As our name suggests, we have always used organic methods and promoted organic food. However, registration with the Soil Association gives us certification that confirms our standards and will allow us to supply our produce to other outlets who are also certified, such as Second Nature in Walthamstow. It takes a minimum of two years, from the time of application, for your land to be fully approved as organic, so this month’s spring garlic is our first fully certified produce.

We agree with Simon Fairlie from The Land that it will be a fine day when the current order of things is reversed, and you have to get special certification not to grow organically… but until then we’ve decided it’s worth the cost and the paperwork to get certification for our own produce. We don’t certify our box scheme or market stalls, as we want to be able to sell produce grown locally by allotment holders and gardeners who would find it extremely hard to get certified as organic; instead for them we use the Wholesome Food Association mark so that they can confirm that they are using sustainable growing methods, and operate an ‘open gate’ policy so that anyone can come and check out how they are growing.

Open day at Hawkwood Nursery, Sunday 26 May, 12-4pm

As well as Iain Tolhurst’s presentation the day will include a site tour, plant stall, seasonal horticultural activities and a freshly cooked vegetarian lunch (for a donation). All welcome, drop in any time or stay for the day!



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