chris iain stocks farm essex

Chris and Iain from Stocks Farm in Essex (organic and local). Note the black pudding dangling in the right hand corner. Photograph: Growing Communities

The weekly Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market is moving to St Paul’s Church on Stoke Newington High Street.

From Saturday 9 July, the market will temporarily be uprooted from its usual spot at the William Patten School on Church Street due to ongoing renovation works. Organisers hope the increased visibility on one of the busiest roads in Hackney will encourage even more visitors, on top of almost 2,000 who already drop into the organic food market on Saturdays.

The market began in 2003 as a forum for local farmers, producers and food businesses. It has grown to become a community bastion for Hackney organic food enthusiasts. Market organiser Kerry Rankine told the Hackney Citizen that she is “delighted” with the new site.

“The move won’t make any difference in what people can buy from the market as there’s plenty of space for al our existing organic famers and local producers,” she says. “The site also has trees and grass, and it’ll be possible to see the market from the street, which is great.”

At present, the market is somewhat tucked away in the playground of William Patten School, but this was never to any detriment. Its popularity has been aided by its wide range of stalls, from cheese and vibrant bunches of locally grown salad leaves to regional street food cooked fresh on-site.

The community-led nature of the market is down to Growing Communities, which works to help local producers set up and develop their products to sell at the market. For instance, Hatice Trugrul who makes traditional Turkish borek from ingredients at the market which she then sells.

In the nine years since the market has began, there has been a palpable shift in the grocery shopping habits of Hackney residents, as the borough is becoming something of a foodie hub. This increased awareness of product traceability is something Kerry says is responsible for the market’s growth.

“Since the market began, people here have built up a real understanding of where the food that is sold here has come from,” she says. “They are now aware of the work that goes into producing it from speaking directly with the farmers and producers.”

Kerry also believes that the move will support existing small businesses on the High Street who will benefit from increasing footfall from market attendees. “Anything that gets people out and about on their local high street on a Saturday is a good thing as it encourages people to shop local and support the economy. Church Street already has a lot of thriving shops and the market will be just around the corner so there won’t be any major impact on retailers.”

To mark the move on the 9 July, Growing Communities are hosting ‘the ultimate urban picnic’ at St Pauls with the promise of cucumber sandwiches, elderflower cordial, picnic rugs and live music, as well as stalls selling vegetable pakoras, spit-roast pork and homemade ice cream.

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