What started as a community food store during the pandemic, has mushroomed into two ventures selling seasonal veg boxes, locally made produce, and home grown fungi.

Rollo Millership is behind Canonbury-based Nourished Communities, which has just opened a second store on Blackstock Road.

The latest venture includes beehives in the garden and a mushroom farm using coffee granules from nearby cafes - with hopes to move into British craft ciders.

"We opened a second place in June in partnership with a beekeeper who owns Cinnamon Village cafe," he said. "It's really exciting, we are producing our own honey, working with 130 independent producers, offering plastic free refills of olive oil, wine, lentils and oats, and received a grant to build a mushroom farm in the basement."

Millership, who grew up and still lives in Highbury, says there's space at the back to hold workshops including beekeeping, wine tasting, foraging and knife making.

"It's a multi use community space for people to express their passions - we have a resident knife maker and we are in talks with a guy making salami. We want to engage with as many different people as possible."

With a background working for London Farmers' Markets, Millership used his contacts during the pandemic to organise fruit and veg boxes out of a temporarily closed Clerkenwell pub, then a furniture consultancy on Upper Street.

Post pandemic they migrated to Canonbury Lane, selling fresh produce and products by independents, including Islington-based Cobble Lane Cured, and Incognito ice-cream.

"When lockdown happened the aim was to help distribute food from farmers who were not able to trade, but we've grown into a unique Aladdin's Cave of producers from Spitalfields to Walthamstow, Kent to the Isle of Wight," he said. "By aggregating demand for niche products we allow a huge range of different producers to have access to the market. They typically rely on farmers markets where there's a lack of consistency in sales, so we take away a lot of that pain and champion their work, help them scale up production and market themselves. We are excited to learn about the products and the stories involved with the producers."

They also stock British cheeses, bakery items, and produce from other countries. The majority of customers click and collect via the website but they also deliver to E and N postcodes by e bike.

From the outset Nourished Communities worked with food banks and charities and partnered with cook Meera Sodha to feed 400 families a month across Islington.

"We've always tried to give as much as possible," adds Millership. "people thought we were a charity - we are a business - but we believe in giving back to the community."

Nourished Communities is at 183 Blackstock Road N5 and 15 Canonbury Lane, N1. https://www.nourishedcommunities.com/