A new pop-up healthy food zone, run by budding local entrepreneurs who received business-boosting skills from Croydon Council and the Mayor of London, has opened.
Artisan coffee, home-made chilli, gluten-free cakes, Caribbean delights and a range of other cuisine, many made from locally-sourced ingredients, will be on sale in the square opposite the main entrance to Croydon College every Thursday and Friday from 12 January.
The start-ups, whose healthy food ideas needed support to grow, benefited from training funded by Croydon’s Food Flagship programme – a collaboration with the Greater London Authority that aims to improve cooking, food growing and nutrition among the people of Croydon.
In total, 15 business owners took the free training run by the Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency (GCDA), which has expertise in the areas of health and sustainability. The course, specifically set up for healthy food businesses, covered the fundamental elements of running a food business, including financial planning, sourcing produce, and managing food production, as well as marketing the business.
GCDA has also provided ongoing mentoring after the course, helping the entrepreneurs to find opportunities to sell their products to the public.
The first food and drink outlets serving at the pop-up zone include Joe+Santini Coffee, Brown Shuga Dumplin, Chilli Station and Eat Me Baking. More businesses are set to join the pop-up healthy food zone in the coming weeks.
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care, will be supporting the business owners at the opening of the pop-up healthy food zone.
She said: “The purpose of Croydon’s Food Flagship programme is to improve local attitudes toward the benefits of growing, cooking and eating more nutritious food.
“This element of the programme for healthy food businesses will enable even more residents and visitors to the borough to eat well while out and about. It’s also helping to contribute to the local economy, with exciting new food choices on the market, as well as providing employment for those involved in the businesses.”
Rebecca Joe, owner of Joe+Santini Coffee, said: “We’re an independent and innovative Croydon-based company always on the lookout for opportunities to improve our business and serve our products to local people.
“The skills we learned from the Food Flagship programme and GCDA’s expert advice is really helping us and others to grow. We’re all so pleased to now start trading at Croydon College; this is an exciting time for Croydon’s economy and it’s great that we’re able to be part of it.”