Covid-19 and our gardening - please read

Supporting local food and drinks businesses

As we emerge from lockdown, now is the time to support our local retailers. By shopping local, more money stays in the local community; for every pound spent, 63pence stays local, as opposed to 40pence staying in the local economy if we shop in a supermarket. There are probably shorter supply chains too, as local food businesses often purchase locally.

One way to ‘shop local’ is to support your local market – as they re-open, now more than ever, they need our support. Go to Love Your Local Market 2020 (Twitter: @loveurlocalmkt) to find out more.

Two of our food and drinks businesses have been in touch, to report on their experiences of the past few months and how they have adapted their businesses.

Local Greens has ridden a wave of highs and lows during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have remained open and working, supplying South Londoners with fresh fruit and veg, throughout the crisis. March brought a surge of customers our way, so much so that we had to redraw our operational plans and minimise strain on our suppliers by importing produce from the EU. That was unprecedented for us, but our small, UK-based suppliers could not keep up, given the time of year and the demand.

We lost several staff members to quarantine and had to suspend volunteering for everyone’s safety. Many of our collection points are local pubs or cafes and several are unfortunately closed at the moment. After consolidating our collection network, we also crafted a social-distanced packing system that we’re finding may be more efficient for the long term.

What has been the most uplifting part of this entire experience is our customers’ response. From the outset, their overwhelming question was, “How can we help?” We set up a group for customers to assist others who were isolating or ill; they’ve left lovely hand drawn messages on our collection sheets, sent donations for the food bank and we’ve gotten to meet so many of them at the manned collection points. Our customer numbers have leveled off from March’s surge, and we invite all new signs up to the scheme. We will be thrilled when a semblance of normalcy returns and we can welcome back our collection partners, volunteers and all of our wonderful customers in person.

and Wolfe’s Drinks sent us this report:

“Like all small businesses who are struggling at the moment I really appreciate it when people choose to spend their money with me, buying local and making it possible – hopefully – to survive. My Shrubs are all handmade by me in London using only fresh fruit, botanicals and vinegars making them lovely to drink, clean and complex. 
Currently you can buy Wolfe’s Drinks online direct from me on Big Barn  – I’ve made a special offer for you, if people add ‘Shop Local’ at the checkout it will give them a 20% discount. Anyone can arrange to collect from me at home, so no delivery charge if they do that.
I’m also selling online with Oval Farmer’s Market –  to collect from Montgomery Hall, SE11 5SW on a Saturday. They are also now running a small market each week that people locally might like to support for their weekend shop. It’s open 10 – 3pm and is just across from The Oval. Guzzl in Brixton is selling a full range, they’re open Friday and Saturday and also have a local free delivery for online orders.”