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

Volunteer at OrganicLea

We have a range of volunteer opportunities at Hawkwood Nursery. All our volunteering starts with an induction day which typically runs from 10:30 – 16:00.  We ask for a commitment to a minimum of 6 sessions after the induction but these needn’t be every week! We can discuss your preferences at the end of your induction day.  Our hope is always that a commitment to volunteering fits your own learning and ‘just being’ goals too.

We currently have 4 different ways to volunteer at Hawkwood – see the descriptions below.

  • Horticultural Assistants
  • Buddies
  • Box pack volunteers
  • Kitchen volunteers

If you’d like to volunteer with OrganicLea please email volunteering@organiclea.org.uk or call 020 8524 4994. If you would like to refer someone to volunteer with OrganicLea please contact us to discuss their needs and arrange a volunteering taster day.

Just a helpful note – if you don’t know where we are located (or haven’t been here before), do check it out. We are right on the edge of Northeast London and the trek can take people by surprise. See transport details here.

Please continue to take care and stay safe. Do read the Covid-19 precautions below.


Horticultural Assistants:  help us grow fruit and vegetables and learn about organic food production.

There is always a range of seasonal activities to do, both in the glasshouse and outside, some more energetic (lifting, shovelling) than others (seed sowing, harvesting). On Fridays we focus our attentions on fruit, on Wednesdays we turn our attention to vegetable production.

Buddies: buddy-up and work with other volunteers who need extra support to access our gardens on Fridays.

Buddies play an important role in welcoming people to site who need a little extra support,

Box pack volunteers:  Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings, join a team who play a vital role in getting local food delivered around the borough.

Feed Waltham Forest!  Volunteers sort, pack and deliver fruit and veg from Chingford to the rest of the borough. This role is great fun and suitable for volunteers with a wide range of physical abilities.

Kitchen volunteers:  Wednesday and Friday mornings, help to prepare a shared lunch of local, organic ingredients for all volunteers.


Volunteer cooks, led by a Cooking Teacher, help to prepare a healthy, vegetarian lunch using ingredients harvested from our site, or from other local growers.


Covid-19 guidance

We are still following a considerate approach linked to the Covid19 pandemic – as we need to keep our site team working at the site! Our current Covid19 guidelines below (as of 30/3/22):

1.    If using buses or trains – we do encourage the use of a face covering for the journey.
2.    Come along only if you are currently in good health and displaying no symptoms of any illness.
3.    If you live in shared accommodation or are a close contact to someone who has a positive Covid19 result – please remain off site until you have a negative Lateral Flow test.
4.    We ask that you are able to work independently in order to maintain a 1m distance from each other in the gardens.
6.    Ideally, you need to bring ideally your own personal items (e.g. cups, gloves, waterproof wear).
7.    Please remember to bring a face covering – especially if you are packing produce, doing a course or attending a meeting in one of our classrooms.