Promoting Well-Being Through Herbs
Hackney Herbal stems from the unique love for herbs. This London based social enterprise has set out to show people how to incorporate herbs in their life style from their ever-growing patchwork of sites around Hackney. The idea came from the desire to create more value out of the herbs being grown in private, public and community gardens. Through creative activities, bespoke events and sales of locally grown herbal tea blends; Hackney Herbal have set up to promote health and well-being by connecting people with herbs. Proceeds from these events go towards funding free community activities in Hackney, which bring people together to learn, share knowledge and be inspired by the simplicity of herbs.
“We are a social enterprise specialising in creative events which explore the beneficial uses of herbs. We run a variety of herb-related activities in Hackney promoting mental health and wellbeing within the local community.”
Hackney Herbal’s tea blends are grown and harvested following permaculture principles and work closely with nature to enhance biodiversity and take care of wildlife at all growing sites. Other beneficial plants and wild herbs are allowed to grow abundantly to forage for wild plants such as elderflowers and nettle in the surrounding area. These plants also help the micro system by providing shelter to inserts and small garden animals.
Herbs are currently grown at Hackney City Farm in Haggerston, The Bee Garden in Dalston and Grow Hackney in Hackney Wick as well as the communities’ home gardens and balconies. In addition, the company has links with a few community gardens that donate herbs into the communal harvest. Despite these sites produce a small batch of unique herbal tea and herbal Hackney products; all specialist tea blends are grown, dried and blended by hand. Hackney Herbal like to highlight that they “harvest without damaging the plants and aim to never take more than one third of the aerial (top) growth so it can keep growing. With flowers, the more you pick, the more the plant makes so we keep picking whilst also leaving some for wildlife to enjoy.” Blends vary according to the season with new and different experimental tasting brews coming up as single tea packs and wellness packs.
Since it is a social enterprise, buying a pack of blended tea, attending a workshop or using the company to deliver a bespoke event means that people can support the local community work. Hackney Herbal is truly committed to provide opportunities for local people to interact with herbs and each other. The free community free community workshops and events that are open to all as well as working in partnership with local organisations to help increase their reach. In addition, by choosing a truly ethical product, all proceeds contribute to promote good mental health and well-being.
Hackney Herbal is committed to social responsibility furthering their impact on the community. To date they have delivered four courses at the Centre for Better Health – a community-based charity that supports wellbeing and recovery from mental ill-health. The course shows participants how they “can incorporate herbs into their lifestyle under the themes of mind, body and home.”
This educational thread does not only extend to teaching people about the wonders of herbs. The company also provides a number of opportunities for people to get involved with the project through volunteering. This ranges from giving a hand at one of the growing
sites, help with packaging up new blends to assisting during events or workshops. The company so far boasts an engagement of 429 people and 112 hours of free community activities. Aside from joining the Herb-Team, Hackney Herb offer Employer Volunteering. This is a package for businesses that want to spend a day helping with community project activities as part of their corporate social responsibility. Participants have included Burberry, Timberland, Barclays and LexisNexis.