Community Kitchen on the Farm
Surrey Docks Farm is a working community farm, situated on the Thames path in London. Here, we engage and educate the whole community to learn about farming and food provenance.
The Farm educates and engages people to learn where their food comes from; we want to take this one step further with participants harvesting vegetables from the ground and collecting eggs from under the chickens to take straight to a new accessible community kitchen to cook with. We’re also keen to support work around food insecurity in our local community.
This new space will enable the Farm to establish a thriving community kitchen for a wide range of people to gain new skills and become excited to cook and eat healthy food!
We now need YOUR help! We’ve been invited through to submit a second stage application with Viridor Credits Environmental Co. to fund our new community kitchen. We need to provide letters of support as part of our application to evidence that this is a project our participants, volunteers and community would like to see funded. Please read on to find out more about our plans and aims, hear from others about why they think it’s important and then complete the form below to register your support below!
From our existing work, we know there is demand and huge benefits from cooking with produce straight from the Farm.
We run family cooking sessions in the holidays in our classroom (with staff carrying trays of bread back and forth to one tiny oven in another building); our youth clubs love cooking on campfires and making soups on hot plates; and we have a tiny not-fit-for purpose kitchen space that a small group of adults with learning disabilities use to cook in (though we’re limited by space and can only fit two people in the kitchen at a time).
A new bespoke kitchen would hugely benefit these existing sessions – enabling larger groups to take part, make things safer and more efficient and enable a wider variety of cooking opportunities for the whole community.
We also want to engage new organisations and develop partnerships to ensure the space is used seven days a week.
- Installing a Community Fridge with support from Hubbub and Southwark Council
- Partnership work with free hire for groups in the Southwark Food Action Alliance
- Supporting Food Banks who could use the space to make meals for the food insecure
- Widening our cooking projects to engage more groups to gain skills in cooking and healthy eating using produce from the Farm
- Offering workshops for the general public to book onto, to learn how to process fruits and make jams
- More scope for food production e.g. chutneys, jams, honey for sale
“As a parent of a young man with learning disabilities I cannot emphasise enough how much Surrey Docks Farm has opened up his life. The chance to learn and understand the concept of planting and nurturing seeds that grow on into plants and then produce food in the form of vegetables and fruit has been invaluable.
The weekly cooking lessons in the present small and cramped kitchen is nothing short of miraculous. The opportunity for my son to harvest fruit and vegetables from his own plants and then cook them and produce a fruit pie or jam or a delicious onion and tomato bread is wonderful for him. He takes so much pride in his cooking and loves to come home with “supper” or a gooseberry cake for tea.
A new purpose built kitchen designed for people with learning disabilities and other associated problems would make such a difference and enable even more production of delicious edible food. The students and local community would hugely benefit from such investment and it would make the cooking lessons easier to participate in with the extra space. This would benefit not just the students but the wider community therefore broadening the scope of the farm to include as many people as possible it its work and training projects.”
The community kitchen will be installed in the ground floor of our recently renovated Tower building. The room is fully accessible all the way from the Farm gates and to toilets close by. This is situated right on the Thames path with views over the river and next to our large river room used for school visits and as a training room space. We can therefore use the river room at the same time as the new community kitchen – with participants hosting meals for families, friends, funders and councillors to show case their new skills.
The aim is to maximise the space to be accessible for all users and to be adaptable for multi-purpose use. The three low prep tables can be set up in the middle of the room for group working sat down (important for older people and those with a disability); or stacked at the side to create more space; or spread in a line for demonstration set up. Two large fridge/freezers for storing food and as much clear space and built in storage as possible.
“A community kitchen that the Young Farmers could use would be really beneficial, giving them practical cooking skills, learning how to cook different recipes and using ingredients that they have grown themselves and educating them about the benefits of nutrition and healthy eating. Cooking is a life skill and it would be invaluable for the Young Farmers to learn the whole food process from planting, to growing, harvesting and then cooking with the herbs, vegetable, salads and fruit”
“Our family has really enjoyed the Family Cooking Workshops at the Farm and would love to continue to learn and practice new recipes. It has helped our 5 year old daughter gain an appreciation and enjoyment of the process that goes into preparing food and encouraged her to try new foods. An expansion of the kitchen to allow more opportunities to join, or more families to take part, would be wonderful!”