Therese and Jean

The Firsts

The First Idea

Way back in 2011, Jean and Therese, two forward-thinking mums, had the vision and ambition to make seasonal, local, organic food a reality for more South London households. Their mission became Local Greens – your Herne Hill based sustainable veg bag scheme serving Lambeth and Southwark.

The First Pack

Our first ever delivery was on June 13, 2011, and we offered just two sizes – small and standard – both with potatoes. We had 33 bags in total at two collection points. Our first drop was at what is currently the Agile Rabbit space in Herne Hill, and the second was the former Blue & Green restaurant on Lordship Lane (now Terroirs)

The bag contents 10 years ago looked very similar to what we have around this week:

Small

  • new potatoes
  • bunched beetroot
  • spring greens
  • broad beans
  • salad bag
  • fresh garlic

Standard

  • new potatoes
  • bunched beetroot
  • spring onions
  • spring greens
  • broad beans
  • salad bag
  • fresh garlic
  • courgettes

Of our suppliers back then, Sarah Green Organics is still with us today and sending us glorious produce from her Essex farm. The new potatoes, bunched beetroot and spring onions in 2011 were all from SGO.

We also have a group of customers who have been with us since bag number one. Wow. We are deeply grateful that they’ve been with us for so long and have trusted us with providing veg for all these years.

Herne Hill was not always our home. The first packing location was in partnership with the Sutton Community Farm, using a building on their land. We then moved closer to our current location, in a space on Turney Road in Dulwich, before finally finding the Arch in 2015.

The First Messages

No fancy newsletter or social comms for us back then. Customers were sent an email with what was in their bags, collection instructions and some info and tips.

Veg supply has its unpredictability back in 2011, as we know all too well it still does today. This note went out to customers with our first deliveries: “Please note that we had originally planned to have carrots every week in your bag but we couldn’t get any from our farms or from other local UK farms. We didn’t want to buy organic carrots from abroad so we have replaced the carrots this week. I hope you support our decision.”

We also supplied wet garlic in our first bags, and think this recipe advise sounds just as delicious in 2021 as it did in 2011: “Wet garlic is plumper and juicer than the dried variety and less potent, so you can use more and even eat it raw. You can also eat all of it, as the cloves aren’t wrapped in skins. It will go perfectly with your broad beans in a salad or chopped up with your new potatoes, either boiled or roasted.”

The First 10 Years

In 2021, Local Greens is still going strong, but our mission is far from over. We are tackling new and continuing issues of sustainability, plastics, supply chains and equitable food access. Our business has certainly grown, and we thank everyone who has sampled our veg and considered shifting their consumption practices because of it. At this moment when how we treat our planet is such a pressing issue, Local Greens continues to champion a future with fairer food for all. Here's to a decade of sustainable eating and to the next ten years!