November 15, 2008

Food Co-ops and Community Kitchens at the Broadwater Farm Estate: 13th Sept


Quite a few people have mentioned, Haringey, Tottenham and Broadwater Farm Estate to us in relation to Energy Cafe. Haringey now has a networking group of residents who are concerned with the environmental crisis: Sustainable Haringey
As a major part of this, a mini revolution seems to be taking place at the Broadwater Farm Estate and the adjacent Lordship Recreation Ground. We took a trip to Tottenham to visit the ‘Restore the Rec Community Festival’ to find out more.

The estate is a 1970s social and architectural experiment – approaching it feels like entering someone’s utopian vision. The individual blocks are now characterised by different murals: waterfalls, Bob Marley, John Lennon…there is a community centre and amphitheatre and the recreation ground is a huge piece of land that offers much potential…

Back to Earth Projects are working towards making an environmental centre, community allotment and city farm on Lordship Rec. It will develop “steadily and organically” as they plan to enlist local residents to volunteer or gain training through the work. Its exciting to see how this has become the utopian vision of now…

To begin, Back to Earth have initiated the Tottenham Annual Flower & Produce Show, showcasing and celebrating home-produced fruit and veg, preserves and crafts.




They have also started a Community Kitchen and Food Co-op on the estate. The kitchen serves cheap, international cuisine and an opportunity for budding cooks to train. The co-op sells food produced by Eostre Organics in Norfolk, as well surplus allotment fruit and veg from local gardeners…



…fair trade Palestinian olive oil and soaps


…and tea from the misty hills of Nilgiri in southern India, traded on an alternative economic system which brings the tea directly from the hills to community groups and co-ops. Tricia, who served us, was keen to supply tea to Energy Cafe. We have made this six mile radius rule for food supplies, but its there for us to question and learn more about the pros and cons of sourcing food locally versus global trading. The issue is not so black and white. It was inspiring to come across a project which cuts out the corporate middle men and has human rights at its core. The growers in India are tribal people asserting their land rights and providing people on housing estates in the UK with low cost tea they drink everyday.



Its nice tea too.

To watch an interview with Anne Gray, one of the co-op initiators, see the y blog:

A few bicycles and twice as many legs provided the energy needed to power the sound system, announcing the green-fingered winners of the horticultural show at the end of the day…


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