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

Volunteer at OrganicLea

We offer general volunteer inductions as well as taster sessions for referrals.

General volunteering: We currently have 4 different opportunities for this at Hawkwood – see the descriptions below.

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

All our general volunteering starts with an induction day which runs from 11:00 – 16:00. The next induction dates are Friday 12 and Friday 19 January 2024, with the usual pattern from February onwards of the first Wednesday and third Friday of each month.

We ask for a typical commitment of 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. If you’d like to volunteer with OrganicLea please email volunteering@organiclea.org.uk or call 020 8524 4994.

Referrals: If you would like to refer someone to volunteer with OrganicLea please contact us to discuss their needs and understand the range of opportunities we offer, 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 journey 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.

When: Wednesdays and Fridays 11-4. Lunch is 1-2 with a delicious vegan lunch provided.


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. We have partnerships with a range of organisations who refer people to us and on Fridays we welcome people who would like to volunteer but requires additional support either initially or on an ongoing basis. The team of buddies provide support during the day and especially during horticultural tasks. We ask for a 6-week commitment to join as a buddy and you also have the option of completing a 12-week AQA qualification in supporting volunteers.

When: Fridays 10.30-4.30. Lunch is 1-2 with a delicious vegan lunch provided













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 take part in weighing, sorting and packing a beautiful variety of fruits and vegetables grown at Hawkwood and at other local farms – as well as going out with our driver to deliver to our community pick-up points. This role is great fun, with a warm, friendly and fun atmosphere (as well as tea and biscuits!) and is suitable for volunteers with a wide range of  abilities. It’s also a good chance for those of you familiar with our site and our horticultural volunteering to see the next step on the journey for the produce you’ve been caring for in our market garden.

When: Tuesdays 2-5pm or Wednesdays 11-1pm














Kitchen volunteers:  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, vegan lunch using ingredients harvested from our site, or from other local growers. A great way to learn more about cooking while bringing a smile to the faces of hungry volunteers at lunchtime.

When: Wednesdays and Fridays 11-3



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.

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