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Stoke Newington community kitchen is crowdfunding to raise money to educate people about food

PUBLISHED: 19:18 04 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:22 05 February 2014

Sarah Bentley (centre) teaches a community class

Sarah Bentley (centre) teaches a community class

Archant

An eco-community kitchen is crowdfunding to raise money to continue its work to educate the community about food.

Since launching in October 2012, Made in Hackney has offered food growing and cooking classes to groups such as young carers, low-income families, people in care and people with long term health problems.

They have worked with a number of national and local organisations such as Action For Children, Off Centre, Inspire!, Catch 22 and Hackney Social Services to offer courses in healthy, affordable cookery skills.

More than 700 people have taken classes including classes. Classes on offer include read making, healthy baking, preserving, raw foods, family meals for £3, home herbalism and how to make nontoxic natural cleaning products and cosmetics.

The organisation was set up with funding from the Big Lottery Local Food Grants scheme and this funding ends in March. They are now crowdfunding to raise £12,500 to help them continue the vital work they do for people in the area.

Founder Sarah Bentley, 32, who lives near Graham Road in Dalston, said: “Without a healthy planet, how can we be healthy people? This is something a lot of people and organisations seem to miss and that’s why it’s so essential we have the funds to teach both things side by side in our kitchen.”

Miss Bentley set up Made in Hackney after international humanitarian charity Amurt, which has a not-for-profit health food shop Food For All in Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, wanted to set up a project to turn their basement into a community kitchen.

She said: “I was an organic food grower and I could see that there was a lack of facilities. There were lots of community gardens (there are 100 registered with Capital Growth) but there was not a local community kitchen where people could learn how to cook that food and why seasonal and organic food is important. “It’s about teaching people skills they can incorporate into their life and showing them that healthy food is affordable. For example, we show them how to grow their own food so families can have salad every week for free.”

Made in Hackney also compost all its food waste and take it to a local community garden, make cleaning products from scratch using natural materials, make shelves from reclaimed scaffold boards and make counter tops from melted plastic vending machine coffee cups. It also uses an ethical bank and renewable energy provider.

Crowdfunder is a crowdfunding platform where individuals receive a reward in return for pledging money. Made in Hackney are offering a range of rewards including organic, fair-trade cotton aprons, a meal for two at The Russet restaurant, a food growing consultation and a weekend stay at the Hilton metropolitan hotel.

n. People can donate until March 17. To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/made-in-hackney

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