Hi, I’m Ashley and I am currently into my second week as an intern at the garden. Last Saturday I helped Sam and Sadhbh put on London Grows - a wonderful supper club which showcased seasonal and local produce.
The menu took our diners on a tour of London featuring rainbow chard from Dagenham, cheese from Tottenham, honey from Acton, sourdough rolls from Dalston, white wine from Enfield… (I could go on but don’t worry I will stop here). As we served each course we taught them about the communities behind the beautifully prepared food on their plates. They learned about the social project with youth offenders and the long-term unemployed that had produced the sourdough for their rolls. They discovered that their wine had been produced by London’s only college to specialise in environmental education. And, importantly (warning: I am getting a little sentimental here) they learned about each other.
With just the three big tables set up in our cosy classroom lit with fairy lights and candles our diners were gently encouraged to mix with one another. Throughout the night with the stories behind the food as a talking point, and perhaps a little help from the wine, our diners went from strangers to friends.
The whole evening was really special for me, having worked in catering before, this supper club was a completely different experience. As the night progressed and the chefs joined the guests around the fire to nibble on some Tottenham stilton with Lea valley rhubarb chutney the line between service and customer completely dissolved.
Building on the initiatives that are working to grow, cultivate and produce not only food but community we too managed to create our own small community grounded on the very same principals.