Friday sees the launch of the third annual Urban Food Fortnight, an event set-up by campaigners London Food Link to celebrate and promote growers, producers and local food initiatives in London and the surrounding areas.
Supperclubs, pop-ups and special menus utilising local produce will be laid on across town, while there’ll also be the opportunity to get nosey with garden open days, and get your hands dirty with grow-your-own workshops and foraging trips. Close to a hundred events are lined up already for the two-week food festival, with more being added by the day.
Ten things to do during Urban Food Fortnight:
Volunteer at Bee Urban in Kennington Park all day on Thursday 18 and Thursday 25 September, with the opportunity to jar your own honey and make candles from beeswax, as well as learning all about beekeeping.
Get fishy with SoleShare at a special dinner in Hackney City Farm on Wednesday 17 September. SoleShare is a unique new company that uses a model based on veg boxes to provide Londoners with fresh fish direct from the people who catch it. This evening marks both its first birthday and its involvement in Urban Food Fortnight. Tickets cost £20 and include a choice of fish with two sides (including local Hackney-grown salad) and a glass of wine. A cash bar will also be running.
Explore growing methods of the future at an event on the roof of a Stratford car park, where you’ll see aquaponics in action and hear all about how attitudes to modern farming are changing. There’ll also be refreshments made from ingredients grown on site. It’s hosted by GrowUp urban farms, and takes place from 3-5pm on Saturday 13 September. Tickets cost £30.
Discover Vacant Lot, a programme that transforms unused spaces on housing estates into places for the local community to grow food. The organisation will be holding a free feast made almost entirely with locally grown produce at its site on the corner of Chart Street and Pitfield Street in Hoxton. It will run from 1-5pm on Saturday 13 September.
Feel the heat at the second annual London Chilli Festival held at Spitalfields City Farm on Sunday 28 September. There’ll be live music, a bar (including chilli beer), cookery demos and street food stalls as well as the chance to buy direct from local chilli growers. Other produce from the farm will also be available. The event will run from 12-6pm with free entry, although the space filled up quickly last year so it’s advisable to get there early.
Join in the Urban Food Challenge at a Shepherd’s Bush supperclub on the evening of Saturday 27 September. It costs just £1, but you must bring a dish made from ingredients grown or created in the capital. There’s just ten spaces and it’s BYO. Get more information and tickets via Grub Club.
Get in a pickle at Southwark’s The Table Café, where chef and owner Shaun Alpine Crabtree will be demonstrating how to make jams, pestos and pickles from 5-8.30pm on Monday 15 September. It will be an interactive session with everyone helping to prep and preserve, and everyone will also leave with jars of what’s created on the day. Tickets cost £35.
Discover the edible gardens of Lambeth on a guided trip with walks company Fox & Squirrel. It will take in six stops, with the chance to meet growers who have taken over disused spaces and try some of the herbs and vegetables they grow in them. The walk will run for two hours on Saturday 20 September, with sessions at either 12pm or 3pm. Tickets are £18 including a donation to the gardens.
Trace your dinner back to its roots with an alfresco supper in the Melior Street Community Gardens near London Bridge. The two-course meal will be prepared by Southwark Street restaurant The Table Café and built around produce grown in local allotments, including the one you’ll be eating in. The dinner will take place on Thursday 18 September from 6.30pm. Tickets cost £12.50 and include a welcome drink; child tickets (without the drink) cost £6.
Tuck into a series of special menus made with local ingredients. Island Grill at Lancaster Gate will be cooking using edible flowers from Ladbroke Grove, cheese made in Tottenham and honey from its own roof. Field-to-fork menus will run at both Mews of Mayfair near Bond Street and Café Spice Namaste near Tower Hill. And in Liverpool Street, Japanese restaurant Moshi Moshi will be serving classic agedashi tofu using tofu made in Shoreditch.
See the full list of events running across the fortnight on a handy map on the Urban Food Fortnight website. New ones are being added all the time, and there is also information on how to host your own event if you are a grower, producer or just fancy getting involved.