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Vegetables from Dagenham? Fresh organic food coming to Redbridge from local farms

Organic Ilford is starting up its project distributing fresh food bags. The Tap is one of their pick-up points. Toni Dipple with some of the fresh vegtables they have to offer. Organic Ilford is starting up its project distributing fresh food bags. The Tap is one of their pick-up points. Toni Dipple with some of the fresh vegtables they have to offer.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
11:27 AM

Getting vegetables from the farm to the fork in a day sounds like a dream from a bygone era but it is being made a reality in Redbridge.

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Vegetable bags

The produce will vary by season but here’s a sample of what you might get:

Small bag

Santé potatoes 500g, red onions 400g, Brussels sprouts 300g, parsnips 500g, carrots 450g, savoy cabbage

Big bag

Santé potatoes 1kg, red onions 500g, Brussels sprouts 500g, parsnips 600g, carrots 600g, curly kale 250g-300g, savoy cabbage, butterhead lettuce

A new social enterprise, Organic Ilford, is putting chemical-free fresh food from farms in Dagenham, Norfolk and Essex on the table.

In the scheme starting next week, people will receive a mixed bag of six or eight seasonal vegetables that they can pick up every week for a monthly fee.

As the project gets more established, the group plans to start a farm where people can volunteer and schoolchildren can be taught how to grow their own.

Founder Toni Dipple, 32, is on a mission to make quality organic produce affordable.

 Organic Ilford is starting up its project distributing fresh food bags. The Tap is one of their pick-up points. Toni Dipple with some of the fresh vegtables they have to offer. Organic Ilford is starting up its project distributing fresh food bags. The Tap is one of their pick-up points. Toni Dipple with some of the fresh vegtables they have to offer.

She said: “I’m fed up of how much it costs in the supermarket when they make so much profit from organic food.

“Buying organic apples from New Zealand in plastic doesn’t do anyone any good.

“Four per cent of all food in the UK is certified organic but 100 years ago, that’s just what food was.”

Toni learnt to grow food as a child at home in Mayville Road, Ilford, where her parents kept chickens and rabbits in their back garden and had a plot at Goodmayes Allotments.

Organic Ilford is starting up its project distributing fresh food bags. The Tap is one of their pick-up points.Organic Ilford is starting up its project distributing fresh food bags. The Tap is one of their pick-up points.

She started Organic Ilford last year after deciding a green revolution was needed in Redbridge.

After a year of work, Toni is excited to see everything come together.

She said: “It’s been a lot of hard work but we have had a huge amount of support from the community and I’m really looking forward to it happening.”

Organic Ilford’s prices start at £8.50 a week and they expect prices to fall as more people join the scheme and the farm starts.

The bags can be picked up from The Wanstead Tap in Winchelsea Road, Forest Gate and the Hardback Café at Redbridge Central Library in Clements Road, Ilford.

Although cheap vegetables can be found many of the borough’s shops, Toni believes that fresh, seasonal food is better.

She said: “Although there’s a proliferation of pound-a-bowl shops in Ilford, you don’t know where the fruit and veg is from and it’s often very old.

“Seasonal eating is more varied and produce has more flavour and nutrition.”

All fruit and vegetables will be picked the day before delivery and will usually include potatoes, onions and whatever is ready at the time.

The first bags, being delivered on May 2, are expected to include local lettuce and chard.

For more information on the scheme, visit organicilford.com.

Read more:

New Organic Ilford project aiming to bring quality, fresh fruit and vegetables to Redbridge

More than half of Redbridge residents now overweight or obese

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