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Project: Ethical Eats: catering for sustainable communities

Ethical Eats: catering for sustainable communities

  • Organisation: Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Project Blog

Urban Regeneration through Food Markets

During 2013 the Ethical Eats projects worked with community groups in Brentford, West London, to set up a new market selling good food. The aims were to provide good food to the community, create new trading opportunities for small food enterprises, particularly those employing local people, and also to demonstrate the power of good food to turn a public space into a shopping destination in order to regenerate the neighbourhood.

As part of the research for this project we conducted Shared Learning Exchange visits to two other successful London food markets, one in Brockley in South East London and one in Kew, West London. These proved extremely helpful when we came to set up the new market.

Shared Learning Exchange Visit Visit to Brockley Market

Saturday 12 January


Andrew Dakers Chair Brentford High Street Steering Group (BHSSG) Julia Quillam BHSSG Joanne Lavery BHSSG Toby Allen – Organiser of Brockley Market Melissa Hayles – Ethical Eats, Sustain

Since its launchBrockley Market has been a phenomenon, drawing in around 1,500 shoppers every week by offering a blend of high quality produce, options to suit a range of budgets, hot food and drink stalls, seating and even entertainment. The result is a fantastic atmosphere and a market that draws shoppers from across South East London and further a field.


Brockley Market was launched in on September 24, 2011 by local resident Toby Allen. Toby was tired of the lack of food shops/outlets in the area with the nearest markets located several miles away at Lewisham and Blackheath. In summer 2011 Toby approached the local community college and asked to use their carpark (which lay empty at the weekend).

The first market was in September 2011 with 20 stall holders and estimated 2500 attendees. Since then the attendee numbers have dropped slighty (to be expected after the launch event) but the market is consistently busy even on wet and cold days.

Factors for success

Weather Weather can play a huge part in the fortunes of a start up market. Several weeks of bad weather could kill a market that would otherwise have been success. Brockley was very lucky with good weather for first 9 weeks. This should be factored into any decision for a launch date.

Interestingly though now the market is established the weather has a less noticeable effect with around 70% of normal turnout still attending in poor weather conditions. This is evidence of a core group of shoppers who use the market every weekend.

Support from local council and services Toby was initially granted a14 week temporary event license from his local council, this was then renewed for a further 14 weeks before Toby eventually being granted a change of use license for the car park to be permanently used as a market space. He also engaged with the local fire and ambulance emergency services to ensure they were aware of the new event.

All traders were asked to provide the necessary documentation for health and safety and insurance purposes. Environmental health make regular spot checks but there have been no problems.

High quality experienced traders covering different price points Toby advised that it is better to have a core of experienced traders for your essential produce. These traders will understand that factors such as time of year and weather can make a significant difference to the foot fall at a market and will be more likely to stick with you in the early days as you find your feet and build your customer base. This is not to say Toby has excluded local Brockley traders. The coffee stand is a supplier who roasts beans locally and several of the street food stalls are local chefs who have launched at Brockley.

Comprehensive Marketing Campaign

Design Toby used a local illustrator to design the eye catchingBrockley Market logo and design.

Website Toby initially put up information about Brockley Market on a well used local community website called Brockley Central Before quickly launching a dedicated website Toby is a professional photographer and so the website is full of vibrant photographs that convey both the diversity and quality of the produce there. Before the launch Toby also put up information on the visits undertook to the local farms who supply produce to the market. This really made you feel that you supporting real people by buying from the market.

Direct mail/leaflets Toby used the last national consensus to work out his target area for a leaflet drop. Initially he had around 1000 A5 postcards printed up and delivered to around 1 mile radius of the market. He has followed this up with subsequent drops for the xmas market and generally to keep up awareness. Stall holders also give out these postcards at Brockley and the other markets they attend.

Posters Posters were placed in local shops and establishments

Social Networking Although the facebook page and twitter account had fairly small numbers o followers at the launch this has quickly grown to over 1600 facebook fans and over 4000 twitter followers.

Many of the streetfood vans which take part in Brockley Market have large followings on twitter and this will have helped with general awareness for the market especially amongst the large foodie community on twitter.

Good Press and PR

Brockley has been lucky enough to receive some great press and pr with coverage in the likes of Time Out and Elle magazine called it a smaller, cooler version of Borough. Toby feels this is due to the fairly unique nature of market in only selling high quality produce and from the support the market has received from well know chefs such as Mark Hix.


Brockley Market was nominated for the BBC Food and Farming Award for Best Market Brockley Market won Brockley Centrals best newcomer award 2011

Community engagement

One of the important pieces of feedback that Toby has received from visitors to the market is the high value placed on the social space that is provides. The day we visited it was freezing cold but there were still people filling the seating areas.


It was clear from our meeting with Toby that the success of Brockley Market has been for the most part due to Toby’s vision, hard work and passion and the energy he has put in to keeping the market fresh each week. Toby commented that setting up the market was a full time commitment pre and post launch and still takes up the majority of his time. It is a testament to that success that Brockley now has a long waiting list of traders who want to participate and that many of the regular traders have asked Toby to set up another market else where. In fact Brockley has provided the spring board for two new businesses and has given employment in one form or another to around 12 local people.

Additional information

Pitch fees - £50 per week Opening Hours – 10am – 2pm every Saturday

Comments on the visit from BHSSG

“We attended Brockley market on Saturday and took in the atmosphere.It was buzzing with really passionate traders and talented chefs. It really has given Julia and I the inspiration to really push this market forward using more street food and local produce.

Brockley is a destination market where people travel to buy specialised meats, veg and bread and you can enjoy the fantastic coffee, which is roasted locally in Brockley, and a bite to eat. We really were spoilt for choice, great food.”

Jo Lavery

“Dear all – Just a quickie to say “yes” Saturday was fab inspiration for Brentford – thank you for getting us there Melissa! All very exciting ”

Andrew Dakkers

Shared Learning Exchange Visit Visit to Kew Village Market

Sunday 3rd February


Andrew Dakers Chair Brentford High Street Steering Group (BHSSG) Julia Quillam BHSSG Joanne Lavery BHSSG Kevin Swain – Trader Liason, Kew Village Market Commitee Melissa Hayles – Ethical Eats, Sustain


Kew Village Market started in October 2011 and has between 32 and 38 stalls and runs on the first Sunday of every month (except January. The market attracts regular shoppers from the local area and tourists visiting Kew Gardens. The market is run by a volunteer Committee and profits made by the Committee are distributed to local charities.

Factors for success

Local residents support and catchment area The market was started by a group of local residents, following their own market research that showed overwhelming interest and support. Visitor traffic from local station for Kew Gardens

Voluntary Committee & market team 12 strong committee which have defined roles depending on back ground and experience

High Quality of Stalls The market is a mixture of between 30 -35 food and craft stalls with a couple of charity stalls. Preference is given to stalls from businesses within the Borough of Richmond. Any traders wishing to come from a greater distance are charged a premium rate. Stall holders recommending other traders to increase variety of offer

Local business support Several shops now open earlier because of market. Permission to stop traffic and pedestrianize area between hours of 9am and 4pm

Critical Mass

15+ Stalls needed to provide variety and retain interest of visitors.

Sustained marketing campaign The market is actively promoted via their website, social media, e-mails, posters, articles and adverts in local media and a regular monthly postcard drop around Kew. Committee members who are specialists in Design , Marketing and PR give their time for free.


Kew Village Market usually has a small stage hosting local musicians which adds to the ambiance of the market

Community engagement

One of the aims of Kew Village Market is to help raise funds and awareness for local charities. They do this in a number of ways, charities are welcome to have a stall. This is a free service to promote work or to raise money. All profits made by the Kew Village Market Committee are donated to local charities or voluntary groups operating in Kew or the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames (or who care for local residents although situated outside the Borough). Their priorities are to support organisations: • who help those on the margin of society, by reason of physical and mental disabilities or poverty • who bring the community in Kew together in some way • who encourage entrepreneurship and businesses locally


Kew Village Market is well organized with a large support team of volunteers, without this they would incur staff costs and would be unable to support local charities. They emphasized the need for continued marketing, especially important for a monthly market.

Additional information

Pitch fees – £45 for traders within Borough of Richmond (£55 if outside) this includes the £13 stall license fee that must be paid to Richmond Council Opening hours – 10am – 2pm

Nose-to-Tail fortnight

Hi everyone,

Thought you might be interested in an event Ethical Eats is currently running, which has been picked up really well by the press. 'Nose-to-Tail fortnight' encourages chefs and diners to:

  • Take an interest in where the meat they cook and eat comes from
  • Explore different recipes and cuts of meat, and cut down on waste
  • Make sure animals are raised to high welfare standards, and as local as possible
  • Think about reducing the amount of meat they eat

A couple of examples of press:

We're hoping to do something similar in a couple of months but for local food. More on that soon.

Best wishes