Love British Food

British Food Fortnight Competition Winner! The Platform Café.

Written by NCGM
October 28, 2020

We are delighted to announce the winner of our British Food Fortnight Competition.

Congratulations to The Platform Café, Loughborough Farm. A community food growing project in the heart of Loughborough Junction in South London.

(Currently Crowdfunding to run gardening sessions and health and wellbeing events for locals).

The Platform Café team have won the prize of an amazing First Choice Produce British Food Box, brimming with award-winning fruit, vegetables and fine foods from local suppliers.

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(Platform Cafe Team Charlotte O'Connor, Sophie Lawrence, Johanna Gilmour).

For the competition, we called on the public to nominate someone they knew who has helped feed front line workers and those in need within their local community over the last six months (we will also further donate a large box of market fresh fruit and vegetables to a food charity of the winner’s choice).

Patrik Ewe was the kind gentleman that nominated The Platform Café.

The competition entries were judged by chef and Love British Food ambassador Olivier Blanc,

“What brilliant inspiring people - who all have clearly made a huge difference through their individual efforts to those in need. Covid 19 like any disaster will bring out the best and worst in society, you my friends are the best.

All entrants are obviously winners in my eyes but I can only pick one. My rational is that food is so much more than just feeding our hunger- for me it is about community, family and friendship and for that reason my winner is The Platform Cafe.

By providing one-to-one visits to the isolated, by running volunteer and learning opportunities, workshops for budding chefs, you have demonstrated how food can be used positively within a community - in fact you are helping to bind and create more of a community through your work - fantastic job to you and all the others bravo!”

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(Raymond Blanc, Charlotte Salt and Judge Olivier Blanc).

The Platform Café was started by Loughborough Farm volunteer Charlotte O'Connor in April 2017 in a former toilet block in Wyck Gardens on the opposite side of the road from the Farm. The Cafe established itself more firmly in January 2019 when it obtained funding from the Lambeth Community Fund and the Evening Standard Dispossessed Food Waste Fund.

The Platform Cafe is now open for takeaway meals every weekday lunchtime. During lockdown it remained open for takeaway meals and continues to run a free meals service for those in need in Loughborough Junction. Funding for this initiative came from London funders Community Response Fund Wave 1; Lambeth Community Fund, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), and a successful Crowdfunder which raised over £17,000.

Working with the Grove Adventure Playground, Max Roach, Carers4Carers, Platform Cafe distributed over 600 free meals to people in need and regularly fed homeless and isolated individuals who made their way to the Café, and delivered meals to disabled and shielding individuals on the Loughborough Estate and further afield. In addition, the Cafe supplied approximately 400 free meals to mortuary workers at King’s College Hospital, who at the height of the pandemic were working in particularly difficult and heart-breaking conditions.

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(Loughborough Farm, surrounding the Cafe).

The Team Behind the Café

Charlotte O'Connor became involved as a volunteer at the Loughborough Farm. She set up the cafe with Jo several years ago. Since then it has developed into a thriving neighbourhood cafe and community food centre strengthening local connections, supporting people experiencing social isolation, feeding/nourishing local people and celebrating diverse food cultures. Charlotte also works across several other local projects. Charlotte is proud mum to baby Euan, the Café’s first baby!

Sophie Lawrence started cooking at the cafe at the beginning of 2020, shortly before Covid-19 hit the UK. Sophie came to know about the cafe through her partner Tom Dobson, who is involved at the Loughborough Farm across the road. Growing up in a Somerset pub, she has always had a keen interest in fresh seasonal cooking and diverting food away from landfill and onto plates.

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(Platform Cafe Team Charlotte O'Connor, Sophie Lawrence, Johanna Gilmour).

Johanna Gilmour worked with Charlotte in the early days of setting up the Cafe, running writing and mindfulness workshops and working with vulnerable volunteers. Since the cafe has grown Jo has taken over front of house and has built up a rapport with neighbouring businesses, community projects, customers and a diverse range of volunteers. Best part of the day for her is harvesting over the road at sister project, Loughborough Farm, for salads, herbs and farm flowers.

Emily Myers first became involved with Loughborough Farm when it started in the summer of 2013. She had just completed a course in Practical Sustainability with Shift Bristol and was keen to get involved in growing local food in a community setting. She is passionate about community food growing, building community and wellbeing through gardening and living in tune with nature.

Loughborough Farm empowers the community to create a greener, healthier, more resilient neighbourhood.

Ljaglfarmpumpkins

The Loughborough Farm

...a patchwork of community growing spaces...

Loughborough Road, opposite Wyck Gardens SW9 7EL

Twitter: LJAGgers & LoughFarm

Instagram @ThePlatform.LJ and @LoughFarm

Facebook: Loughborough Junction Action Group and Loughborough Farm

Written by Meg Morrison

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