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

People and Community

People and Community

As passionate and committed we are to producing and distributing local food, OrganicLea is about much more than that! We strive for fertile, self-reliant, productive communities as much as we strive for fertile, self-reliant, productive landscapes. We believe we cannot have one without the other.

When exploring a new project, people and community considerations are just as important to us as soil and production are. In fact, we find that we often apply the same principles in our interactions with others as when we are tending the land.  In people as in plants, we know everything has value and we celebrate diversity. And just as no element of an ecosystem exists on its own, we believe that in the community, as on the land, the web of connections and relationships between all elements is what keeps the system healthy and balanced.

Our work is guided by the following core principles:

  • People care: A core ethics of permaculture, we apply this in the way we organise as well as in the way we interact with others. We know that people act positively when they feel valued and when they are given a chance to make a contribution. We believe in cooperation and mutual responsibilities rather than hierarchies. We also think that for fertile, self-reliant, productive communities to thrive, all members of the community must be taken into account – our activities therefore strive to build bridges among individuals and groups.
  • Building community by bringing people together: We aim to reinforce the experience of community through activities that draw people together around growing, promoting and enjoying local food. We believe that safe, easy connecting points are essential to the experience of community and we trust that our activities act as extra connecting points.
  • Encouraging self-reliance & productivity: By sharing and spreading the skills needed for people to produce their own food, we try to encourage self-reliance in both individuals and community.  In turn, the more local people are involved, the more sustainable a local project like ours! And by providing pathways for produce made or grown by members of the community to be distributed to others in the community, we seek to increase the self-reliance, cohesion and productivity of the community as a whole.
  • Building bridges: Because we believe a community cannot thrive when people are left out, we want to reach out to all. Through supported volunteering opportunities, we aim to offer a safe space for more vulnerable people to make a valued contribution as well as learn new skills.  And by supporting community groups in their own space, we try to make growing food more accessible for everyone.

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