Our Community Market
Crystal Palace Food Market is a Crystal Palace Transition Town project. It is a community not-for-profit market, managed by Karen Jones and Laura Marchant-Short.
Any profits made are used to support Crystal Palace Transition Town, small local businesses and charities.
Our aim is to create community resilience through…
supporting small sustainable farmers – all the produce stallholders are organic, farming without harmful chemicals and keeping animals traditionally. Most are tiny farms close to us in Kent & Sussex, and could not survive without trading at farmers’ markets. They also help to ensure we do not lose our traditional farming knowledge.
supporting local food producers – Most of the cooked food stalls are very local – i.e. Comfort & Joy (Church Road), cake makers (all from SE19 – almost all start ups), and honey from within a few miles. As well as encouraging skills and keeping money in our community, this also keeps down the petrol used, and our carbon footprint.
promoting local growing – Patchwork Farm is currently not running. Would you like to get this going again?
promoting community – we like to support community projects. Time are a bit strange with covid and social distancing, but we do us best to fit in community stalls if possible.
creating local employment – for stallholders, local growers & the market crew. We also hope the market brings in more trade to all of the other independent shops & markets in CP.
The story begins in May 2012 at the first Crystal Palace Transition Town AGM almost exactly a year before the market began.
Having followed CPTT on Facebook for a while, local resident Karen Jones decided to go along to find out more. Part of the evening involved a brain storm about how to improve local and sustainable food availability in Crystal Palace and she suggested a food market. Little did she know that in Transition, if you have an idea you have to lead on it…
With the help of local food writer, Rachel de Thample, who was part of the Transition Town Food and Growing Group, and Joe Duggan, the then Co-Chair, a series of open public meeting were held in 2012 to agree the composition and principles, which resulted in a consensus for an inclusive market offering fairly priced sustainable produce and locally sourced prepared food. Next on board was fellow Food and Growing Group member Laura Marchant-Short, a no-nonsense New Zealander with a passion for gardening, foraging and ‘real’ food, who soon became part of the core team.
Suddenly we had a strong team. Karen had some project management experience, was passionate about the role of food in health (having trained in Ayurvedic medicine) and wanted to recreate the sort of markets she had grown up with in Lebanon. Laura had experience as a volunteer leader at “Penge Green Gym”, a community run park in Penge, which fed into the market’s sister project Patchwork Farm, and she brought strong project managing and IT skills from her days as a channel manager in a technical company. Having grown up in New Zealand, Laura is driven to help people in London have the sense of connection to nature and community she experienced as a child.
Rachel brought a deep understanding of organic, seasonal food, having worked in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal and Peter Gordon, been the Commissioning Editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated as well as contributing to two Borough Market Cookbooks: Meat and Fish. She was the Food Editor for Abel & Cole and had just finished writing Less Meat, More Veg‘ (2011, Kyle Cathie). (She has since launched a second book, ‘FIVE‘ (2015 Ebury), much of it based on the food in the market.) Joe, a teacher and published poet, is a committed environmentalist and had also worked as a facilitator in Northern Ireland, so knew how to begin to engage the whole community in the project. Most importantly of all, we were all united by a strong sense of community and a passion for sustainable living.
Through our contacts in the Transition Town, a site was offered by Jacob Kaye from Antenna Studios and Geoff West from Book Palace and we decided it was perfect, even though it was down a hill off Westow Street. It was still close to the Triangle, had its own funky cafe and was just the right size. We began visiting successful market models including Lewes Farmers’ Market and The Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market run by Growing Communities. Both Julie Brown and Kerry Rankine gave us excellent advice with the benefit of their 10+ years of experience.
Karen and Laura started holding weekly planning meetings at Bambino’s on Church Road and Tim Sharville from Gunpowder Studios came forward to design the fantastic website, posters and flyers as well as the all important carrot logo and Claire Hunte, another local mum, who runs Living Funky, took up the tweeting challenge. Veryan Wilkie-Jones came forward and offered to organise the children’s activities as she had lots of contacts from her involvement in the Overground Festival.
Open market meetings still take place every few months to invite ideas from the community to improve upon the market. A big thank you to our biggest contributors; Joe Duggan, Rachel de Thample, Tracey Acton, Stephen & Jacob Kaye, Mags & Alex Proud, Rochelle, Veryan Wilkie-Jones, Clare Goff, Robin Buck, Elizabeth Mander, Anita-Clare Field, Rachel de Cruz, Laura Earle, Mark Richardson, Tim Sharville, Claire Hunte, Steve Broe, Georgie Cook, Darren Doherty, Stefan Inglis, Anna Sayburn Lane, Ursula McLaughlin, Charlotte Taylor-Page, Andy Bambino, Jerry Green, Mehul Damani & Annabel Sidney.
The market is managed by Karen Jones and Laura Marchant-Short. To contact, email [email protected].
The First Produce Stall Holders
Word soon spread about the market and, to our surprise, suppliers started contacting us.
Jayne Duveen, founder of the amazing Jacob’s Ladder Farms, small organic livestock farmers in East Sussex who come together to sell their produce in London Markets, had heard of us through Jake Cignel of the Remakery, Brixton. We met Jayne and Micheal Duveen on their pretty farm near Forest Row and began planning together.
They introduced us to Brockman’s Farm, one of the best suppliers of biodynamic and organic vegetables and fruit from Kent; Andy Forbes of the Brockwell Bake, who grows heritage wheat locally (Rosendale Allotments, Brockwell Park etc) and on nearby farms, which is then ground and baked; and Brambletye biodynamic fruit orchards and egg supplier. Jayne Duveen also helped us secure Hook & Son Dairies and Veasey’s award winning fish stall.
We approached Wild Country Organics as customers kept asking for another vegetable stall, and we felt it complimented Brockmans. The Grain Grocer, who supply well sourced organic nuts, seeds, grains, oils, dried fruits, teas and honey as well as refillable eco cleaning products, were a complete start up, mentored by ourselves and Brixton. The Grain Grocer is now called The Store Cupboard.
Patchwork Farm and the Community Stalls
Patchwork Farm is not running at the moment. Would you like to start it up again?
Part of the shared vision of Crystal Palace Transition Town and the market is to create a resilient food system, not dependent on long haul travel and with a greatly reduced carbon footprint. With Patchwork Farm, our sister project, we can start speaking not only in “food miles” but also in “food feet/wheelbarrows” as for some years much of the produce was grown within walking distance of the market. Many thanks to Rochelle, Clare Goff, Robin Buck, Rachel de Thample, Lou Yates, Hayley Baines-Buffery, Anna Sayburn Lane, Francesca La Nave and all the many volunteers that kept this stall and Patchwork Farm running.
In 2014, Laura Earle came forward with an idea to start a monthly artists’ collective stall to support local artists and makers. Handmade Palace was born and Laura ran it for a number of months until it was taken over by Beth Mander. Beth decided to run it weekly and expanded it, often supporting as many as 15 contributors at a time. Beth now runs her business from The Paxton Centre in Anerley.
Busker’s Paradise was a collaboration between Steve Broe and Antenna Studios to provide musicians with a busking spot in the market, bringing live music into the market.
We can also have a Community Stall for the use of schools, scouts, cubs etc to get themselves known or to sell plants or to raise a little extra cash. Just email us at [email protected]
For the first year of the market, Rachel de Thample wrote a weekly recipe using produce from the stalls in the market. These were printed out and handed out for free to customers to help get an understanding of seasonal eating. These recipes can be found on our recipe page alongside others that have been given to us from cooks, chefs and fellow residents from Crystal Palace. Happy cooking.
So here we are with an amazing market, a true community effort. Come and join us every Saturday 10am – 3pm, we hope to see you there soon.