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Urban Food Awards 2020: Meet the Food for Good Champions

Picture: Nahida from Migrateful - Credit Migrateful

Published: 16/09/2020

Every year the Urban Food Awards shines a spotlight on people who really make a difference to people and planet through their good food work. Here we share the story of this year’s special category.

Join our webinar on the 5 of November celebrating the UFA winners and focussing on some of them who are creating good food jobs and helping Londers improve their skills.  

Every year the Urban Food Awards shines a spotlight on people who really make a difference to people and planet through their good food work. Here we share the story of this year’s special category.

The Food for Good Champions are the Londoners using food to bring communities together, promote social integration and celebrate diversity in our capital – and never has this been needed more. These social enterprises, entrepreneurs and community organisers work tirelessly to improving the lives of other Londoners and celebrate the diversity that makes our city great. Whether they are bringing school children together through food clubs, supporting refugees into employment, or feeding locals great munch, they have become a key stone to the people and communities they support.

Read on to discover the amazing work being done by these good food heroes feeding those in need, cooking up a storm and growing stronger communities.

FEEDING THOSE IN NEED

Hadas Hagos of Waste Not Want Not Battersea. Photo: Miles Willis

Waste Not Want Not Battersea

Waste Not Want Not Battersea is a charitable social enterprise founded by residents of Doddington and Rollo Estate. It diverts food waste and alleviates food poverty by redistributing food and sharing knowledge of healthy eating, bringing the community together through opportunities for social interaction, volunteering and training. The initiative is led by Hadas Hagos – an amazing community activist who despite challenges, works tirelessly to make Waste Not Want Not Battersea the success it is.

Brixton Library, Read and Feed Project

During school holidays, Brixton Library runs twice-weekly activities and provides nutritious food for families living in food poverty. Often living in hostels, the initiative offers people with no recourse to public funds, the chance to come together, meet other families living in difficult circumstances, have fun, eat and socialise in a non-judgemental setting. The staff at Brixton Library have gone above and beyond, building links with organisations such as City Harvest, Brixton Soup Kitchen (which cooks and delivers the hot food) and raising much needed funds. 

FoodCycle Peckham

Run by a small group of committed volunteers, FoodCycle provides free healthy, sustainable, vegetarian meals and a social point of contact for homeless, lonely, socially isolated people in a non-judgmental and safe space. In 2019, FoodCycle Peckham fed approximately 5,000 people. The project also provides meaningful voluntary work: from collecting food surplus from local supermarkets, to leading a session and cooking the food. 

Woolwich Market Traders

The traders at Beresford Square – a market that has existed since the 1600s – teamed up with Greenwich council to launch the Healthy Start voucher scheme, providing local residents with young children, with access to affordable fruit and vegetables. Since launching, traders have accepted more than 1,000 Healthy Start vouchers from local families. This project is an inspiring example of tackling one of the key barriers to achieving a healthy, balanced diet through teamwork; local business owners and the local authority working together for the benefit of local residents.

COOKING UP (AND BREWING) A STORM

Usman Khalid, HAVEN coffee. Photo: Miles Willis

HAVEN Coffee

Founded by Usman Khalid, Haven Coffee is London's first coffee pop-up run by refugees, although they are currently awaiting a permanent home which they hope will be in Walthamstow. Usman helps refugees into employment through support, work opportunities, and barista training programme. As well as creating a community space with great ethically sourced coffee.

Migrateful 

Migrateful helps refugees and asylum seekers on their journey to employment and independence, promoting integration. Set up in 2017, it runs cookery classes led by migrant chefs struggling to integrate and access employment due to legal and linguistic barriers. The cookery classes provide ideal conditions, not just for learning English and building confidence, but also for encouraging contact with the general public and dispelling misconceptions about migrants.

Charles Gabriel, Head Chef, Stormont House

In changing the menu and ingredients Charlie has revolutionized lunchtime at Stormont House School, in Hackney and if you are lucky enough to visit you can tell that he is truly inspiring. The students have a range of complex educational needs, which Charlie helps tirelessly to address through his careful and thoughtful use of food. By gradually introducing new textures and flavours he helps with sensory issues, improves the food quality, and broadens the culinary horizons of his students. What an angel!

Cooking Champions

Clare Donovan, the driver of this project, has used her years as a teacher and qualified to create a catering and community interest company, offering community cooking classes for various groups and Food Hygiene training for pupils with learning disabilities. This previously included a monthly community cooking session, where volunteers cook healthy meals for The Little Things homeless outreach. 

Clare says: “Winning an UFA is a lovely way to recognise the hard work of so many people that have contributed to Cooking Champions’ growth. As part of the Covid relief project we worked together with 40 local businesses and organisations. Working together we were able to achieve more and support each other. It would be great to expand this network and use this platform to work with more organisations who are passionate about healthy food provision for all.”

GROWING STRONGER COMMUNITIES

Rainbow Grow. Photo: Zoe Walde-Aldam

Rainbow Grow

This LGBTQI+ led community gardening initiative provides a friendly growing space for members of the LGBTQI+ community in Dalton. Together they grow edible plants giving their members new skills and access healthy food. With a higher than average number of people identifying as LGBTQI+ suffering social isolation and mental health difficulties, Rainbow Grow also creates a safe space where people can get the support they need.  They also grow some great food!

Friends of Archbishop’s Park

For the past two decades this project has supported people with special educational needs and thoseare isolated or suffering from mental health issues. Having transformed previously neglected areas of the park into gardens to grow food, people who are otherwise not in employment or education can attend weekly classes to gain skills in growing, cooking. Social engagement and team leadership – all outdoors, something that has been more in demand than ever since Covid-19, extending from one to three sessions a week.  And drop them a line to buy some of the Park’s delicious honey, jams and fresh produce


The 2020 UFA category winners have also been announced. Celebrating a range of good food heroes, from climate conscious restaurants to caring community gardens.

Find the category winners here.

 

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