Queens Park Farmers’ Market is a model of sustainability for urban communities and is open on Sundays from 10am to 2pm
This is a weekly ritual for many locals and visitors to the area, who want to partake in the friendly hustle and bustle of London’s ‘Best Farmers Market’, as it is often referred to. Many will do their entire shop for the week ahead, some might just buy enough for a special Sunday meal, but some people also just come to mingle, socialise and grab a take away, a coffee or a bunch of freshly cut flowers. Shoppers are easy to spot heading up the adjacent roads armed with empty canvas bags and containers to be filled with unpackaged food, grateful for
the opportunity to avoid unnecessary plastic and cardboard (‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!’) and knowing that the food they will buy will be fresh and won’t have travelled far.
Lately access to the market is carefully being managed due to the Covid restrictions of numbers on its site in the grounds of Salusbury Primary School. Visitors queue respectfully at an allocated distance, lining the pavements on both Salusbury and Lonsdale Roads. Inside, shoppers may not linger, but what they cannot gain in the market ground in terms of social interactions, they make up for during the wait. In times like these this seems vital. Resilient communities rely on strong networks; the market serves both to be a place of communal gathering as well as a link to the rural parts of the country which produce the food we eat.
The aim of the Farmers Market Network, which was established in 1999 with its first market in Islington, is to enable local UK farmers to sell their produce directly to the consumer, which means more income for the farm, which in turn means more can be invested in sustainable farming practises by the farmers.
The sale of rare breeds meat and heritage fruit and veg varieties is promoted and, as stated on the website ‘all of our beef, lamb and pork come from high welfare farms, the majority of pork is free range, some is barn raised.’ The farm produce on offer is supplemented by a diverse array of artisanal food producers, bakers, brewers and regional nurseries.
This year’s ‘Favourite Stall Winner’ at Queen’s Park, Brinkworth Dairy strives for sustainability by balancing ‘planetary preservation’ through conservation and planting, as well as encouraging wildlife, ‘social responsibility’ by employing locals and continually working to reduce packaging to make it waste free. On their website they also state ‘...a fair price for the farmer [...] allows our traditional farm to
continue and allows us to have high animal welfare standards.’
At Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market, provenance is proudly advertised with most produce being of local origin as much as that is possible. Some produce is organic, some biodynamic, and most importantly all of it is in season. Customers can check on the website or the market’s social media handles Instagram and Facebook ahead of their visit to see what seasonal produce will be on offer on the day and which producers will be selling to plan their menu around that. Current listings include pumpkins (obviously), chillies, cob nuts, several apple and pear varieties, sunflowers, Michaelmas daisies, wet walnuts, shellfish and game as well as the last of the soft fruit.
Detailed information about the producers and links to their respective websites and social media pages can also be found on the website. London Farmers Markets are noticeably keen to educate and engage their customers through the market sites, the experience they offer as well as the information they provide, therefore playing an important role in the area’s drive towards sustainability.
* In recent months there has also been ‘Queens Park Lates’ with a reduced number of stalls, music and take away food from local businesses.