London is a city known for its diversity, vibrancy and nightlife. It’s also teeming with artisan, small batch and innovative food producers. For two weeks this autumn, Urban Food Fortnight is celebrating the Londoners putting tasty local food on our plates.
Urban Food Fortnight is run by London Food Link, the London arm of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming. London Food Link “helps join the dots between people and specific food issues”. They help widen the connection between growers, makers, cooks and sellers, and local communities.
2018 sees the seventh annual Urban Food Fortnight. It’s been so successful that it’s grown from a one week event, Urban Food Week, to a two week flagship celebration.
The Need to Connect Food Outlets to Local Producers
Buying food from far afield isn’t good for the environment or our carbon footprint. We know it increases food miles, but not only that. It often arrives into our kitchens having lost vital nutrients, freshness and taste.
Restaurants and retailers need to also consider where they buy their food from. By sourcing local ingredients, they’re helping to reduce food miles and support local businesses. Urban Food Fortnight has a mission to celebrate the food being grown, made, foraged, cooked and saved on London’s doorstep. They’re encouraging us all, businesses and consumers, to embrace local food.
Urban Food Fortnight connects food outlets to the edible gardens and small producers in our capital city and features the best London has to offer. During the fortnight, there’s events, special menus and supper clubs galore. Everyone is invited to feast on the food and drink on offer!
If you’re a Londoner, or you’re visiting, you won’t be far from a food festival, pop up, workshop or foraging event.
In previous years, the celebrations have seen no end of businesses getting involved. There’s cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants. Market vendors and street food sellers. Urban farms and community food gardens. Small batch producers, microbreweries and distillers. Even surplus food savers and cookery schools.
Beer, Burgers, Supper Clubs and Sustainable Entertainment Masterclasses
The Urban Food Fortnight map is the best way of working out what events you want to visit. There’s something for everyone, whatever your tastes. You could experience a special tasting menu at a top restaurant. Or maybe attend a supper club and try food you’ve never had the pleasure of trying before. Perhaps top everything off with a cocktail evening. Try a range of locally distilled spirits infused with locally foraged botanicals.
If you’re feeling more energetic, then look out for one of the walking tours or urban foraging days. You could even learn how to grow your own or attend a vegan cheese and wine evening!
There’s over 100 parties, tasting events, garden open days and workshops. They all feature local food brands producing good food for like minded local foodies. Everything, from fruit and veg to meat, bread and honey to beers, wines and spirits has to originate from within London. Otherwise, it’s not invited to the party.
There’s plenty for families to do too. Try a community cook-up, enjoy a day dedicated to celebrating apples or get up close and personal with hens.
Every event is registered with a surplus food distribution charity such as Too Good To Go. This means that no good food will go to waste.
Urban Food Fortnight Favourites
Here’s a round-up of some of the events we think you might just love.
Top 10 family friendly events
- Urban Herbal – celebrate the abundance of herbs grown and foraged in the city with family friendly activities at Hackney City Farm.
- Clissold Patchwork Farm Open Day – visit their market garden and have a tour of where all the green magic happens.
- Harvest Stomp – annual free community festival to celebrate the harvest. This is where you will find Morris dancing and the mass fruit salad toss, not to be missed!
- Wolves Lane Open Farm Sundays – have a wholesome family Sunday buying produce and plants grown on site, getting friendly gardening advice and having a nose around our urban farm and community food hub.
- Incredible Edible Leap Little Tots Food Tour – walk with buggies to some special hidden places and interesting local food projects – and get some exercise along the way.
- Haringey Food and Drink Festival – Sip back on a nice fresh beverage whilst your kids enjoy fun activities… perfect.
- Cheese Street N1 – if your kids like cheese, this is the place to be. With cheese makers, cheese street food, butter making demos… it’s all about cheese at Chapel Market in Islington.
Top 5 Food waste events
- The Business of Food – Explore innovative companies like Olio, curbing food waste at 42 Acres Shoreditch.
- Brixton People’s Kitchen Disco Soup – Working to address food poverty and social isolation, this event serves up a tasty meal from surplus food.
- Community Cook Up By Brixton People’s Kitchen – Using locally sourced surplus food
- Ethelburga Harvest and Planting Party – Vegetable planting and community meal using home-grown grown and locally sourced surplus produce.
- Hiver Beers X Toast Ale: Collaboration Launch Party – Locally sourced surplus bread and honey from London bees make up this beery collaboration.
Top Tasty Highlights
- Burp and Burgers – Burp Ferments and Voodoo Burgers get seasonal with their UFF menu
- Crayfish Bob’s Annual Urban Food Fortnight Crawfish Boil – Listen to music while tasting the legendary Crawfish Boil made by none other than the legend of Crayfish himself.
- Small Beer Sessions – Brewery tours, Wednesday comedy nights, Friday taprooms and Saturday yoga sessions.
- Pop-up Ferments – Join Rachel De Thample for an evening learning how to make easy, everyday ferments.
- OXO Tower London Toastie and Local IPA – UFF special menu
- London Pizza Party and Aperitivo Night – At the Skip Garden this UFF
Supporting Local Food Businesses
Urban Food Fortnight might only be on for two weeks. But organisers hope that Londoners will forge a better ongoing relationship with food. Where we choose to buy and eat our food has a huge impact on sustainability. Be that cheese made in Tottenham, lamb reared in Enfield or salad grown in Hackney. There isn’t much that isn’t being produced on home soil.
What began as a way of helping community food gardeners find buyers for their excess food in the Autumn has become a wider celebration of local food. Urban Food Fortnight is on between 20th September and 7th October 2018. Pop along, get involved and most of all, enjoy this fabulous food!