Food assembly promotes local growers

Shelly Berry meets the organisers of the new Leytonstone Food Assembly

Leytonstone Food Assembly

Happy shoppers at the launch of Leytonstone Food Assembly

Shoppers in E11 can now easily find locally-grown produce thanks to the introduction of Leytonstone Food Assembly.

The community-driven initiative, which allows shoppers to buy high-quality, locally-produced food online before collecting it in Leytonstone, was launched at the Red Lion last month – and was enthusiastically welcomed.

Organisers Ashleigh Brown and Alison Wade want to address concerns about how we source food. Produce bought via the food assembly travels an average distance of 28 miles from source to customer, compared to an average of 600 miles for food purchased in supermarkets. It not only reduces the impact on the environment, but also ensures that, for every pound spent, 90p stays in the local community.

“We have become so disconnected from our food and how it is produced,” Alison explained. “The food assembly provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect to our environment, food and communities.”

The people of Leytonstone showed their support by putting their money where their mouths are, with 87 signing up on the day, compared to an average at other food assembly launches of 15. Its success was in part because of the proactive support of the Red Lion’s staff, who helped promote the event.

James Chitty, the general manager, said: “To bring a local food hub to Leytonstone that connects people, where we share more than just money for goods, is going to have a huge positive impact.”

Products available via the Leytonstone Food Assembly include ales from Signature Brew in Leyton; artisan bread from the Better Health Bakery in Hackney; and jams, oils and vinegars from OrganicLea, the Chingford-based growers’ cooperative.

Demand for high-quality food from local independent producers, and the local demographic – young families who want to eat in yet eat well – were said by co-organiser Ashleigh Brown to be reasons for the launch’s success.

Ashleigh added: “We were overwhelmed by how many people came and there was a great atmosphere. Lots of people said it was the best thing to happen in Leytonstone for ages. It was really exciting.”

Leytonstone Food Assembly is the local branch of a European network of food assemblies which began in France three years ago.

Leytonstone Food Assembly is held every Wednesday from 6.30pm until 8.30pm. To make your order online: