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Local Community Regeneration

Back To Earth Projects began life in 2004 and they still run successfully at Hackney City Farm, as a programme of environmental volunteering and green skills training projects, mainly for marginalised and disadvantaged people.


Our Pilot Projects

Thanks to an "Awards for All grant" in April 2008 and L B Haringey, who agreed to host us for the pilot project period, we were able to set up and run a regular pilot local community food programme with a practical Community Kitchen every Friday and the development of the Tottenham Food Co-op. Many local volunteers and people from surrounding communities joined in cooking, serving and enjoying fresh food, training and learning together. They also helped design and plan the more permanent Back2Earth projects we plan for the future. They help to manage and run all our projects through the Project Steering Groups, made up from volunteers, staff, board members, interested partners and members of the community meeting regularly to discuss progress and plan the way forward.

From 2008 the pilot Community Kitchen & Healthy Eating projects in the kitchen and café area of Broadwater Farm Community Centre have run with a series of Community Cook-ins every Friday involving a variety of local community cooks coming and teaching us how to make their dishes. Alongside we began the B2E Education and Training programme with accredited catering and food hygiene training and healthy food workshops and some Community Action for Energy Workshops about reducing our carbon footprint for other local community groups.

Local Community Food Growing

LThe aim has always been to develop these B2E "local community food" Projects into a permanent social enterprise with steering committees of local people and using more and more "locally" produced food - some of which will be grown in the B2E Community Gardens by our third Project, B2E Education, Green Skills Training and Volunteering which started Community Gardening and Green Gym workshops in September 2009.

Apart from 2 staff, the session tutors and some accreditation costs, we have run this B2E Pilot Programme almost completely on a voluntary basis, with minimal staffing and premises costs mainly due to our partners, Broadwater Farm Community Centre, offering services free for the pilot period. We have kept prices for food and meals to a minimum and we are now seeking to fund a more permanent sustainable future for the B2E Farm Community Café as a full time social enterprise.

We have also run Healthy Food Workshops for local community groups; cooked healthy meals for young footballers at the Centre's Football Academy during half-term holidays; put on Christmas parties and ran outings to Kew Gardens and nearby farms for local kids. With the Community Kitchen we are committed to offering affordable fresh, healthy sustainable food - local and organic where possible - at prices that local people can afford. But as we also aim to be sustainable, so a happy medium has to be found. All our catering training is offered free to our trainees and volunteers.

The success of the initial B2Epilot projects, regularly enjoyed by hundreds of local people, was followed by further funding from the L B Haringey "Making the Difference" Fund to run a 2nd and 3rd pilot programme of the Farm Community Kitchen and Food Co-ops through to the end of March 2009. Then we had a further award in 2009/10 to start our pilot Community Gardening and Local Food Growing Projects. The Pilot Projects still gather support and momentum and inform how we set up the proposed permanent Farm Community Cafe and Community Gardens.

Broadwater Farm Harmony Gardens

After three years of consultation and planning we took what everyone had suggested for the proposed Community Centre Gardens design and divided the site into three main garden project areas:

AREA 1. This is the community garden and food growing area on the North West side of the Centre with: accessible raised beds surrounded by access paths; a propagation poly-tunnel; compost heaps; a native butterfly tunnel and bee hives. It is proposed to contain this area with raised beds and green wall gabions, separated from the leisure garden at the south by a fruit tree arched walkway running in a curve across the garden.

AREA 2. This is the leisure garden area at the south end of the western side of the Community Centre which has been designed as a scented, decorative amphitheatre space and as an adjunct to the Centre and the Centre's Farm Community Café. This will be for sitting out or possibly holding receptions and will be contained by the apple/pear tree arched walkway and a gabion "green wall" supporting a seating mound at the southern end. With this area we also include all the other growing beds around the centre building including the large bed to the south where we plan a kitchen garden.

AREA 3. The Eastern side of the Centre we plan a small, productive, children's organic nature garden. This has been designed with input from local children and will be dotted with many fruit trees, fruit bushes and beds. It will have an accessible pathway through another walkway; various areas for fruit and vegetable growing, attractive flowers and planting with incorporated nature study interest areas and a wildlife pond. Money for this scheme won as a result of the People's Millions Programme.

Education and Training

Funded by our first Awards4All grant in 2008 the B2E Pilot Projects offered free training in Food Hygiene; Health & Safety in the Workplace etc. with CoNEL,( College of North East London ) and with our RIPH assessor, Ian Proctor and a professional caterer, Maria Law. On Fridays we had Community Groups cooking and learning together - and Saturdays from July 2008 we started to pilot the Tottenham Food Co-op.

On Saturday 19th July 2008 we had a Community Kitchen Open Day & Food Co-op Launch. In September 2008 we ran the Community Kitchen and Food Co-op as part of the Restore the Lordship Rec Festival all staffed by our volunteers and trainees. We were also asked to run healthy cooking sessions for young people, which we added to the mix in the 3rd Pilot series. We also run occasional Healthy Food Workshops for schools and local community groups and ran Community Action for Energy Training workshops for as long as we could afford to. From Autumn 2009 we started community gardening and local Food growing workshops on 3 plots at Creighton Road allotments N17. Initially these concentrated on clearing and preparing the ground with some horticultural construction for our hardier more experienced volunteers. We ran fruit tree and bush planting and pruning workshops on one of these sites with mature fruit trees and bushes. We now also run workshops at the Centre. Despite difficult weather conditions these were well-attended by enthusiastic regulars and we have had groups from 5 schools and 4 community groups come to help with teams from the Probation Service and BTCV.

Aimes & Objectives

Developing our Aims, Principles and Objectives

At meetings and open days involving our volunteers, trustees, supporters and local community partners we have discussed our programme aims, our objectives, the operating principles and purposes of these B2E local community food projects and how they have worked in reality. We formed Project Steering Groups for each B2E project and these will continue. We resolved to work towards adopting a sustainable "local food" code, like Growing Communities in Hackney; to reduce our carbon footprint and that of the buildings we inhabit and to operate our projects in line with our environmental and healthy food aspirations. However we also agreed not to be too prescriptive with the services and food we offer. We want to involve the maximum number of people in decision-making and want to educate and train people gradually in the most healthy, environmentally friendly and sustainable practises rather than alienate them from the outset by being high-minded and dictatorial or too costly.

Some Key Issues We Are Addressing

1.Working towards Community Cohesion

At first our local cooks and users from each of the different communities here strongly preferred their own food and would not readily eat food from other cultures. Over time, barriers have lifted and now our cooks make and enjoy dishes together from all over world and our users are much more adventurous in the dishes they will try. Everyone is also becoming much more aware of their diet, the ingredients that they use, where they come from and how they can eat healthier. Our cooks are also much more professional in their approach to catering now and aware of their need to please their customers. Through customer feedback we have developed cooking which is healthier and more acceptable i.e. not too hot, spicy, sugary, salty or oily.

2.Organically sourced food

There are many people round here who cannot afford the organic food which we aim to supply at our Food Co-op and in the proposed box/.bag scheme, even though we charge little more than cost price and we offer Healthy Food Vouchers to low income families with young children. So we will also offer alternatives: locally sourced food from farmers and wholesalers sold almost at cost to the community. The healthy eating and local food messages are getting through and we are looking for alternative cheaper sources of produce from "conservation grade" growers and wholesale sustainable food suppliers. Crucially we grow more and more of our own produce. This last year we served our own home grown fruit and vegetables in the Co-op, produced our own jams and chutneys and cooked food in the Community Kitchen made from some of our own home grown produce: spinach, apples, pears, plums, leeks, onions, garlic, brassicas, raspberries, black, red and white currants, gooseberries, josta berries, strawberries, courgettes, mushrooms, lettuces, salad crops, tomatoes, potatoes, assorted beans and many different herbs: rosemary, parsley, thyme, mint, chives, basil and a wide variety of salad leaves.


The whole subject of meat is contentious for many of our volunteers, supporters and customers, as many are vegetarians and some are vegans. Also meat is expensive and it needs to be Halal for some of our communities or sometimes kosher which according to others, precludes it from being organic. We wrestle with these arguments, but many in our communities are meat eaters and so we have to supply if we are to attract all communities in to use our cafe. Many of our greener members feel that large-scale meat production can never be environmentally friendly, due to the huge acreage of land taken up, the large amounts of crops that livestock consume, as well as the flatulence involved producing greenhouse gases apparently and that this land could be better used growing produce for human consumption. It is also of important that we keep the cost of food to a minimum and both meat and fish are comparatively very expensive, Halal and organic even more so. Longer term we aim to teach people to use fresher, healthier, more seasonal fruit and veg. with fair trade whole foods and to reduce their dependence on over processed, pre-packaged foods as well as meat, salt, sugar, fat and fatty oils.

4.Meeting the demand of our services

Running these pilot projects for the last 3 years we have proved that there is a significant and growing demand for our services from local people. Not just locally but throughout Tottenham and Haringey. At present though we have nothing like the capacity to fulfil this demand, we have attracted an eager audience which grows week by week with a growing pool of active volunteers. Expectation now is almost tangible but without progression we get volunteer fatigue as well as customer fatigue because they want us to be open as a facility regularly as and when they need us on a full time basis. We are not yet running out of volunteer time. They are being patient. But we don't have the staff with the ability to supervise all of this work. So we urgently need to appoint more staff to help and support volunteers. We need to be open more often in order to serve our public as a regular, reliable service on a full-time basis. We also urgently need to regularise our position in the kitchen and the Centre gardens with L B Haringey regarding our leases and rental as soon as possible in order to satisfy our funders.

Some Impressive Numbers

April 2008 to July 2010 the following voted with their feet and stomachs:

We have had nearly 1,500 people actively involved in the B2E Community Kitchen and Food Co-op pilot projects from the April 2008 Launch to date.

  • 278 people attended B2E Open Meetings about the Projects
  • We served 5,380 people with meals altogether
  • 108 people attended the July 19th 2008 Community Kitchen and Tottenham Food Co-op launch
  • 2,877 were served with our B2E Outside Catering
  • 330 at HAVCO events and 1745 at Haringey events
  • 159 people attended Healthy Food, Catering & Energy Training days, 67 of whom have got some accreditation
  • An active pool of over 70 volunteers have assisted with various aspects of these activities
  • We now have a B2E supporters database of over 511 people and there have been 128 Food Co-op members
  • We have had 437 attendances at B2E Community Gardening & Green Gym sessions, plus 143 local primary schoolchildren and their teachers
  • Between 2500 and 4000 people per annum (a total of nearly 10,000 people) attended the Lordship Rec Festival and B2E Flower, Produce and Green Shows every September for the past 3 years

The Way Foward

We now have a window of opportunity at the Broadwater Farm Community Centre and at Lordship Recreation Ground to do something fantastic that could transform the lives of all of us living around here. We could turn the Harmony Gardens and the Farm Community Kitchen into a flourishing social enterprise, training, qualifying and employing local people as a key part of this local community and environmental regeneration project. Raising the funding needed for extra staffing and infrastructure, we aim to start running the B2E pilot projects full time at the Broadwater Farm Community Centre from September 2011.

From running these B2E Pilot Projects - and in response to consultation with our supporters, users, partners and surrounding local communities we updated and amended the current Back To Earth Business Plan. This was crucial in getting to the final stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid for capital projects in Lordship Rec, but needed amending in the harsh light of today's economic reality.

We are the main project bringing local people actively into the Park and Community Centre and involving them in their own community regeneration. We will be an increasingly self-supporting voluntary sector social enterprise with a contracted core group of full time and part-time staff and many committed volunteers and trainees. Informed by these 2008 - 11 Pilot Projects we will establish a permanent Farm Community Café, a weekly Food Co-op with a box/bag scheme and established community food growing and environmental conservation training as a social enterprise under the wing of the Back 2 Earth Charity. These will be managed with the help of Project Steering Groups with local community stakeholders and employing as many local people as possible.

From the outset we will be attractive and affordable enough to draw people in, so that they come regularly. We can then encourage people to reappraise their eating habits and their diets - and we will have time to establish an increasing number of food growing areas, sources of cheaper local food - and as a result many more healthier, fitter and better skilled local people.

Longer term, we will offer local people and Park users the best possible, tasty, fresh, "home-made", home grown, healthy, seasonal, sustaining and sustainable food, with ingredients as local and as organically sourced as possible, with as much as we can produced by ourselves in our own gardens. Everything has to be at the lowest possible prices for people on low incomes. Affordability is essential if we are to offer a truly effective service which is why we need grant subsidy initially while we establish a sustainable successful social enterprise that will make us increasingly self-sufficient.

Distant Learning Courses

Learning Curve helps 45,000 learners per year to achieve nationally recognized qualifications.

Once you have completed your distance learning course with us, you may feel that you would like to progress with your studies or develop skills in another area and take up another course.

Please find below a list of qualifications we deliver which you may be interested in.

If you would like further information on any of these courses please contact the office on 0800 0852081 or and a member of staff will assist you.

Distance Learning Courses:

  • Dementia Care Level 2
  • End of Life Care Level 2
  • Safe Handling of medicines Level 2
  • Mental Health Awareness Level 2
  • Equality & Diversity Level 2
  • Customer Service Level 2
  • Team Leading Level 2
  • Infection Control Level 2
  • Understanding Diabetes Level 2
  • Nutrition and Health Level 2
  • Working with people with Learning Difficulties Level 2

Contact Us

Adress: Broadwater Farm Community Centre

1 Adams Road, Tottenham, London N17 6HE





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