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

Restaurant supported agriculture

As part of Organiclea’s restaurant distribution work, we run a ‘Chef Supported Agriculture’ programme. This works for chefs who want to be directly involved in the planning of crops, and the management of a market garden which grows solely for them.

The model is flexible but we ask restaurants to pay an annual fee which covers a grower’s salary, plus other essential costs of production (tools, sundries and land rental). Chefs and growers discuss preferred crops at the start of the season and growers organise the weekly harvest and delivery of all the produce.

Restaurant staff visit and help out from time to time, and it is generally felt that, whilst the cost of running a kitchen garden exceeds that of buying wholesale on the open market, the direct connection between chefs and growers, and between serving staff and the produce they are serving, more than makes up for this in terms of the quality of experience for staff and customers alike. From our point of view, it shares the financial risk of growing with another party, gives skilled and passionate growers in the London area a garden and some guaranteed income and boosts the local food economy, with all of the environmental, economic and social benefits that that brings. If you’re interested in exploring this avenue with us, contact tsouni@organiclea.org.uk