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London allotmentsThis page addresses some common questions that arise around the rules, regulations and safety of trading food grown in urban areas.

Soil contamination

Urban food growers should be aware about soil contamination issues and yoy may need to check if your site is safe to grow food.  You should carry out soil tests if you are planning to sell your produce commercially. The Capital Growth campaign gives links to documents dealing with soil contamination. If problems cannot be resolved, there are creative solutions to dealing with areas of contaminated land such as growing in containers and raised beds using purchased top soil or compost, which is also suitable for growing food commercially.

Trading standards

When selling food you should contact your local trading standards and environmental health teams and let them know what you are planning to do (these are both based within your local council). Food safety and hygiene standards govern the sale of produce and you should be aware of these. You can read more about this on the Food Standards Agency website and there is also useful information summarised in the Food Co-ops Toolkit.

Paying tax

Registering with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and paying tax on any income that you earn through your sales is also necessary. This applies even if you are earning less than the taxable amount.  You still need to declare any money that you are earning. You can read more on the HMRC website.

Selling allotment produce

Selling allotment grown produce is a different issue and relates to the laws that govern the use of allotment land. General legislation permits the sale of allotment produce that is surplus, but some local authorities do not allow this under the terms of their lease agreements with allotment users  For more information you can read this report published by the Walthamstow-based community group OrganicLea, called Selling Allotment Produce [450kb pdf].

Local Action on Food: The Local Action on Food network was run as part of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme, 2007 to 2012. It has now closed.

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