Make a feast of London’s green, gold and growing urban food scene

Urban Food Week 10-16 September 2012

urban_food_week(1)This September, London will feast on the fabulous local produce being grown, produced and cooked on its doorstep, with the capital city’s first Urban Food Week. The week of activities is being organised to highlight the importance of buying and eating local food, urban growing and planting forage for bees.

During the week, restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs across the city will be showcasing dishes and drinks made with ultra-local fruit, veg and herbs from urban farms, and from London honey cultivated in community beehives. 

Kelly Parsons of the Ethical Eats restaurant network, which is promoting Urban Food Week, said, This produce is about as local as food gets, with many of the gardens and beehives within a few hundred metres, and sometimes even on the rooftops of the restaurants. The food will be ultra-fresh; picked within a few hours and delivered straight to diners. There is an amazing range of international foods to choose from in London, but it’s just as important to celebrate our carrots from Battersea, lettuce from King’s Cross, and honey from Old Street.”

Over 30 restaurants, growers and beekeepers, plus lots of other urban food businesses and organisations, are already signed up to take part. Diners can also go one further and eat ultra-fresh urban produce right in a community food garden - on Friday 14 September, there will be a fabulous ‘Dinner From Our Back Garden’ pop up, co-hosted by The Table Café and Team London Bridge, in a garden near London Bridge. The growing space is one of 1,800 supported to date by the Capital Growth campaign and run by homeless charity St Mungo’s, as part of its ‘Putting Down Roots’ project.

Sarah Williams of the Capital Growth campaign, which promotes community food growing in London, said, “We are really excited that community food-growing projects have the chance to showcase their delicious fruit and vegetables, as well as generate some much-needed additional funds for their community activities. This year over 20 of our food-growing spaces are involved, inspiring many more to start trading regularly with amazing restaurants, who are such great supporters of local growers.”

Mikey Tomkins of the Capital Bee project, which promotes urban beekeeping said, “London is rich in parks and gardens, offering welcome refuge for our country’s bees, which are in trouble. Our city honeybees produce a diverse and multicoloured harvest, feasting on the flowers of plants and vegetables grown by community food growers. Urban Food Week offers a chance to celebrate the hard work of the bees and gardeners that produce the magic that is urban honey.”

Some of the urban foodie events and activities taking place are listed below. Diners can find a full list of who is doing what, plus a map of where they are, at, and anyone submitting a picture of their Urban Food Week dish or drink will be entered into a draw to win a one-day urban foraging course, by Food Safari.

Special offers for food-growing projects registering with Capital Growth during the week can be found at

Restaurants participating in Urban Food Week include:

  • The Table Café in Southwark will be serving plaice with baked cucumber (from nearby Melior Street garden run by homeless charity St Mungo's) and roast baby beetroot (from St Mungo's) with Caprino Cremoso (goats' cheese).

  • In West London, the restaurant Portobello House will be serving a lemon posset garnished with violas from nearby grower Bee Interested.

  • In Kentish Town Sheebeen will be shaking honey and London lavender cocktails.

  • St Ermin’s hotel will be serving honey afternoon tea, a honey-themed set menu, and a range of special London cocktails. Dress up, treat yourself, and celebrate urban food with a King’s Cross pink gin, or a London Fields martini. The Westminster hotel has its own beehives and is running a honey month throughout September.

  • In the East, start the day with a London Fields honey granola breakfast, or chorizo and honey on toast, at La Bouche restaurant on Broadway Market.

  • InSpiral Lounge, Friend’s House and Hornbeam Café will be dishing up produce from urban food-grower Organiclea, which grows salads in the Lea Valley. Hornbeam’s famous brunch will have a special urban twist.  

  • South Londoners can visit Cornercopia in Brixton Village for honey tasting and Lambeth-grown salads.

  • The St Mungo’s growing space in Clapham will be supplying sustainable street-food van Street Kitchen with cucumbers, rosemary and wild rocket for its slow-roast lamb and hot smoked salmon dishes.

  • Clerkenwell Kitchen will have salads on the menu, made from super-fresh leaves delivered by nearby growing space Edible Golden Lane.

  • The Duke of Cambridge organic pub will be serving up produce from nearby urban farm Growing Communities throughout the week. It is also hosting its own Harvest Festival event on Saturday 22 September, and anyone that wants to donate fruit and veg to its harvest during Urban Food Week will get 20 per cent off lunch.

Specific events during the week include:

  • On Monday 10 September Capital Growth and The Table Café are hosting a ‘Pop up pickle!’ for urban growers to process their surplus into chutneys and pesto.

  • The ‘Good Food for London Conference-Putting sustainable food on the map’, which marks the tenth anniversary of the London Food Link Network, takes place on Tuesday 11 September.

  • In London Bridge, Platterform at The Skyroom will launch a new ‘Skymarket’ concept on Wednesday 12 September, featuring a market stall with local produce, and will be showcasing local honey in dishes and drinks and showing urban food-related films throughout the week.

  • On the Thursday, Hackney grower Growing Communities is hosting a seasonal produce tasting at the Castle Climbing Centre café in Finsbury Park.

  • Also on Thursday, foraging group Urban Harvest will be running a workshop on mushroom-growing, and a foraging ‘hips and haws’ walk on Saturday.

  • On Friday 14, there is a ‘Dinner From Our Back Garden’ pop up dinner event in the St Mungo’s growing space near London Bridge, hosted by The Table Café and Team London Bridge.

  • Saturday 15 September is Capital Growth’s ‘Edible Open Gardens Day’, where urban food gardens open their doors to Londoners wanting a behind-the-scenes look at what is growing right under their noses. There will be a special walking tour of spaces during the afternoon in East London, including talks from growers.

  • Saturday is also Food Safari’s Urban Foraging in a Day course in Stoke Newington.

  • Also on Saturday, Café Caldesi in Marylebone will be hosting a ‘Sagra’, a traditional Italian fiesta celebrating seasonal produce with local honey and produce from The Regent’s Park Allotment.

  • Sugarhouse Studios in Stratford will host a Saturday night supper club using foraged food and produce from a local grower.

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