Hornsey Vale’s work with surplus food collection

As part of our sustainability drive, Hornsey Vale Community Association (HVCA) has developed fruitful relationships with the Neighbourly scheme and Growing Communities, local organisations focused on reducing food waste.

The Neighbourly scheme aims to re-distribute surplus food from supermarkets to the local community in an effort to alleviate food poverty. 

Image of two women holding bags of fresh organic vegetables.
The Growing Communities veg bag scheme brings you fresh, organic, seasonal fruit and veg every week whilst bringing about real, positive change for people and planet.

Hornsey Vale currently collects food mainly from M&S in Muswell Hill on Sunday evenings, but sometimes from other smaller local stores such as Sainsbury Local or Tesco Express on other days.  The goodies normally comprise pre-prepared meals that are ready to heat and eat (if suitable, we may freeze some of these), pre-packed fruit, lots of bread (which can also be frozen), bakery goods such as doughnuts, cookies, savoury and sweet pastries and, sometimes, fresh vegetables. 

We give much of the food to residents of the sheltered accommodation next door to us in Abyssinia Court and we have also identified some other local people who benefit from the provision of free food. However, we have noticed that when offered, many people feel embarrassed to accept the free food as they seem to think they are less deserving. 

While we would love to see the food go primarily to the needy we would also rather see people making use of the excess than watch perfectly good food end up in landfill! 

So, if you are interested in finding out more about this project—either because you think you could make use of the surplus food or because you would like to volunteer with collecting or distributing it—please call the centre on 020 8348 4612. We are looking to set up separate WhatsApp groups for volunteers and for those who would like to know what’s on offer, so get in touch!

For those who subscribe to the organic vegetable scheme and collect vegetable bags from the cupboard in the Hornsey Vale Centre forecourt, you will be aware that Growing Communities has taken over the vegetable bag service from Crop Drop.

Poster showing details of the Growing Communities veg scheme at Hornsey Vale

Having suddenly been given notice this summer of eviction from their veg scheme premises and after six months of falling sales, Crop Drop found themselves in financial difficulty. After nine years they no longer felt able to continue, but luckily the Hackney-based Growing Communities came to the rescue, taking on their customers and drop points in Haringey. Growing Communities even managed to continue the service uninterrupted.

Growing Communities has been flying the flag for a better food system since 1993. Crop Drop was initially set up through a Growing Communities start-up programme, so their ethics and values align.

To find out more about the Growing Communities organic vegetable subscription scheme please go to the Growing Communities website or email vegscheme@growingcommunities.org.

Sustainability is one of the HVCA’s core values, and we’re proud to partner with these groups at a time when the cost of food has become a central driver of the cost-of-living crisis. We hope you feel inspired reading about them.


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