Islington farmers' market supporting independent businesses
- Credit: Nourished Communities
“Ninety-five per cent of purchases in-store will be supporting local business.”
That was the message from Rollo Millership, 28, who started a farmers’ market called Nourished Communities from the back of furniture store Coexistence during the first lockdown in March.
He has been working on markets since he was 14; his first job was working Sundays on Kent-based Perry Court Farm’s stool at Chapel Market in Angel.
Rollo’s 15-year career in the industry and his background in marketing and advertising is what he believes gave him the confidence and contacts to launch Nourished Communities.
He was inspired to help the industry in the first lockdown during March, when various markets across the country were forced to shut and many farmers were losing out on profits.
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Perry Court was the first farm to get involved with supplying the produce for Nourished Communities, but other farms soon followed through word of mouth.
Rollo was initially doing all this at The Sekforde pub in Clerkenwell as they were temporarily shut during the first lockdown.
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He moved to the current location on Canonbury Lane when it became clear the pubs would be reopening.
Martin Davis, 72, a customer from Barnsbury, said: “What I really love about Nourished Communities is that all the foods are seasonal and fresh.
“I am over 70, so delivery during lockdown was such a must and freshness of the product is fundamental, which is why I have shopped at farmers' markets for the best part of a decade.
“I think Rollo’s business will go from strength to strength as he provides good food for the customers and it is such an innovative idea.”
Nourished Communities is also a plastic-free store encouraging zero waste - for example, customers can refill detergent or washing up liquid bottles from a large tank.
Rollo also allows children’s artwork to be displayed on the fridge of the store to emphasise his community mindset.
He also has plans to introduce a cooking class workshop with local schools in the summer and set up farm visits for students living in London who may never have been to a farm to teach them the basics and highlight the importance of nature.
The business is partnered with more than 10 farms and 40 independent food producers.
Rollo said: "Ninety-five per cent of purchases at Nourished Communities will be supporting local business.
“For instance, a chef who now supplies to us recently lost his job and as a result, started a bakery in which he produces for us fresh bread, cakes and tarts every morning.”
Rollo says he has been wanting to open a plastic-free store for years, with this venture offering him the perfect opportunity to follow through.
Jessica Fermor, 30, a farmer at Perry Court said: “We have known Rollo since he was 14, he is basically part of the family.
“He has done so well to overcome problems such as Covid through being innovative and adapting so swiftly.
“One of the huge attributes of Islington is the fact that it is such a great community, that you have a huge variety of independent stores that are still being supported.”
Rollo expects the run-up to Christmas to be hectic, with the business launching its Christmas fruit and veg box and selling free range turkey.
It has even introduced a "fill up your own stocking" option.
The store is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 10am to 4pm and delivers to a range of north London boroughs as well as through click and collect.
Nourish Communities has a customer base of around 2,000.
For more information, visit: www.nourishedcommunities.com.