This weekend we will be hooking up with the lovely people at The People’s Kitchen for a harvesting session. Word is that the plums in Haggerston Park are just about ready so we’re going to check them out and hopefully harvest them. We will be going on a foraging and harvesting expedition beforehand from 12pm and you are very welcome to join us.

The People’s Kitchen is an amazing experience held every Sunday at at Passing Clouds in Dalston.  It starts with the preparation of a feast made up of food that would otherwise go to waste, and this meal is then shared amongst anyone who wants to drop by. The meal is followed by a screening of a film (this week The Gleaners and I) and there will be a brief talk from Hackney Harvest members. The evening is then rounded off with a jam session (musical, not toast topping) downstairs with musicians from all over coming to play together.

Hope to see you there!

Here are the details:


It’s time to take to the streets, parks and canal sides of Hackney for another forage. We’re hoping to hunt down local figs, plums and blackberries if they are ripe and ready as well as any other local delights we might find. Please let us know ( if there is a tree near you in need of harvesting!

We will be joined by the team at Hackney Harvest and will be mapping the trees we find to add to the great work achieved by HH last year ( Please arrive at 12pm promptly for the foraging adventures. Bring baskets, scissors and jam jars. Forage 12-3pm. 

Please remember that foraging must always be done responsibly. Pillaging an area of all fruit, leaves, stems and flowers is irresponsible, some must also be left for the bees, trees and plants taking their part in sustainable natural cycles. The bounty with which nature gratuitously provides us far too often goes to waste in favour of packaged produce flown in from around the world. The People’s Kitchen aims to raise awareness of food waste, and to connect people to each other and to their food.

This will be followed by the People’s Kitchen as usual from 3pm utilising our foraged delights. What better a way to spend a Sunday than around a communal table with friends, friends you haven’t yet met and one of the most affordable plates of tasty food London has to offer, followed by a free film upstairs in the ambient boudoir and a jam session through the world of music from a melting pot of multi talented musicians?

12-3pm Urban Foraging
3-6pm Communal Food Prep
6.30pm Dinner Time! Take your food up to the film or dine around the communal table
7pm Cinematters Film Screening ‘The Gleaners and I’ (free entry)
9pm Passing Clouds Sunday Jam Session (free before 10pm)

‘All the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe.’

We are calling for surplus food from local houses, gardens, parks and businesses.
Any fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs, dried and canned foods, pulses and grains that you might have available.
That tree has given you more apples than you can make pies, bring them down.
Those tins at the back of the cupboard that you don’t know what to do with, bring them down.
That perfectly good carrot that looks a little funny, that beetroot that’s a little past its best, those limes that aren’t quite big enough according to stringent EU regulations. Bring them down.
The cherry tree in the park that is laden with fruit, bring them down.


The surplus will be supplemented by a selection of spices and essentials provided by our sponsors and your donations. The chef’s discretion of what is suitable to cook is final. 

‘An estimated 20 million tonnes of food is wasted in Britain from the plough to the plate.’


Yes it’s a people’s kitchen! Come along and meet some of your fellow citizens. Be a part of the team behind the scene. All welcome.
We need people to chop and pick and tell jokes and stir and talk and cook and smile and peel and wash and grate and serve. If you think you are capable of any or many of these activities, then please come and get involved.
Volunteer from 3pm, first come, first in. Kitchen capped at 20 persons.
Contact: 07790003934 for more details 


Food will be served up on a donations basis. Put what you can or will into the pot. Make it the right pot. Those that have donated to the food surplus drop off, feel free to eat for free!
Eat around the communal table amongst friends and others or take your food to be enjoyed in front of the Cinematters Film Screening of ‘The Gleaners and I’. A French film tracking a series of gleaners as they hunt for food, knicknacks, and personal connection, with a discussion and presentation from Hackney Harvest. 

Followed by the Passing Clouds Sunday Jam Sessions, free before 10pm.

The finest internationally acclaimed talent from London’s underground music scene, taking us on an ear-dazzling journey through world of music; afro and latin grooves, funk, reggae, inspiring hip hop and uplifting soul.



Bored of crushing apples manually? Let’s make a state of the art pedal powered apple crusher. A world first, here at Hackney Harvest!…. Please see the details below and spread the word!


Call for proposals: Pedal-powered apple crusher

The London Orchard Project is looking for someone to design and make a new pedal-powered apple crusher for easy juicing of urban apples.

This is an exciting opportunity to create a really useful product that does not currently exist. The crusher will be used by us and community groups across London harvesting and juicing local fruit. It’s a great opportunity to be part of the future of local fruit production and processing in our wonderful city.


Apple juicing is a 2-stage process. First the apples need to be crushed to a pulp, then they are pressed to get the juice.

Small scale community apple juice producers using hand-operated crushers know through bitter experience that the crushing stage is slow, dull and blister-inducing. There are electric crushers available, but these are too expensive for small voluntary groups, require a power source (not always available at outdoor events) and conflict with the low carbon/ off the grid ethos of small-scale community food production.

The Vigo website shows the crushers currently available on the market with some useful videos of how these work.

The brief

We are looking for an intermediate technology apple crusher: faster and easier to use than existing hand-operated crushers, but without need for electricity.

The ideal crusher would be:

  • Pedal powered
  • Transportable- ideally readily attachable to a bike
  • Safe to use- has a mechanism that ensure apples only get crushed (no fingers in our juice!)
  • Quick – a small electric crusher by comparison can crush up to 1,000kg of apples per hour (but it doesn’t need to achieve aquite these volumes!)
  • Effective – reducing the apples to a fine pulp for optimum juice pressing
  • Very sturdy- it will be used by many groups across London
  • Using reclaimed materials where possible
  • Easy to repair
  • Looks cool! (the most discerning teenager will be keen to give it a go)
  • Replicable
  • Ideally (but not necessarily), you’d be up for sharing the design with other groups who may want to make their own.

Prize and Budget

We have a £200 prize for the person who makes us the crusher. And you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing your creation is being put to good use and enjoyed by 1000s of Londoners. And we’ll make sure to spread the word about the brains behind the crusher.

In addition, we anticipate the budget for materials to be in the region of £200-£400 (but are still very keen to see cheaper or more expensive designs)

To take up the challenge…

If you are interested or have any questions, please contact outlining:

  • Your initial design
  • Relevant experience in designing, making or working with similar machines
  • Budget breakdown for the work

Closing dates for entries is 20th July. The winner will be announced on 25th July.
We would like the crusher on 31st August at the latest, ready for the harvesting season

More about The London Orchard Project

It’s lovely to see the leaves just starting to pop out on the trees once again, giving a hint of green to cheer up the winter grey. I was in Haggerston Park last weekend where the white blossom of the wild plum trees near Hackney City Farm was coming out beautifully.

After a very busy summer of mapping and autumn of harvesting around the Stoke Newington area, culminating with the Growing Communities Apple Day at Stokey Farmers Market, things have been fairly quiet at Hackney Harvest over the winter but that’s going to change.

We haven’t been entirely dormant this winter though as we’ve been helping our friends at the London Orchard Project. They’ve been busy planting community orchards all over London, including one in Haggerston Park, and have big and exciting plans coming up (all of which will be explained in a post from Carina very soon).

Now that the blossom is coming out, we can start up some gentle mapping. If you spot any trees with blossom anywhere in Hackney, please let us know – it might be difficult to know what kind of fruit tree it is, but we can make a note of it and come back later in the year to check it out when it’s fruiting. In the summer we’ll get properly stuck in to the mapping and then before we know it we’ll be back into the harvesting again.

This year we are looking to cover other parts of Hackney and we would be very interested to hear from individuals or community groups who are interested in mapping and harvesting their local area. We’ve made a good start in Stoke Newington and our friends up at Transition Finsbury Park have been adding their trees to the fruit tree map, but Hackney is a big borough! We can help out with tips on how to go about it, equipment and volunteers, so drop us a line if you would like to get this started near you.

Equally if there are communities out there in Hackney interested in planting a new orchard or if you have a fruit tree in your garden that produces more fruit than you can deal with, then please get in touch. We’d really love to hear from you.

FARM:shop Open this Saturday & Sunday

by Jamie on December 14, 2010

If you’re free this weekend I can heartily recommend going to check out what’s going on in the FARM:shop on Dalston Lane. They are experimenting with aquaponics in a former shop in Hackney and are throwing open their doors this weekend:

We’re opening our doors from 1pm – 9pm on the Saturday and the Sunday to see in this festive season.  We’re going to be serving up stew that’s made on our sister Farm, Church Farm, Alderley, (where they’re still harvesting veg), Redemption Pale Ale, Bloody Marys, Whiskey Macs and some cakes made with our very own rooftop eggs.

This weekend will be a pre-empter and fundraiser for the cafe, which we are hoping to open early next year.  If you would like to donate some baked goods, if you’ve made far too many mince pies, we will be very happy to sell them!

The flier’s attached, please come on down with friends and loved ones, we look forward to seeing you!

If you want to get involved…


FARM:shop has BIG plans for 2011 and will be recruiting teams of volunteers to fill the space with delicious food, great people and exciting projects.

We will be looking for teams of people to:
– run the cafe
– grow as much food as possible (and keep the chickens smiling)
– coordinate education and community projects
– put on exciting events

If you’re interested in getting involved and helping to fill the space with fun and food, we’d love to talk to you and hear your ideas over an ale this weekend…

Festive cheers from us at,

Here are some links:

Click on the flyer:

Tomorrow a bunch of us are heading down to Haggerston Park to help the London Orchard Project plant a new community orchard of 10 trees in the East corner of the park by Hackney City Farm. This previously slightly neglected spot, located right where we had our first ever harvest, is being converted over to food growing by Hackney City Farm, and this orchard is going to form a part of that.

It’s great to see underused park space being put to good use in this way. There is a lot of open grassland in London’s parks and I think more could follow this example (I’ve been thinking that a ring of allotments encricling each park would be a pretty inspiring sight). Up in Clissold Park in Stoke Newington, Growing Communities has a spot for food growing, so perhaps things are heading in the right direction.

We’re going to be down in Haggerston Park from 11am and if you’d like to come along and lend a hand you’d be very welcome.