A Woodland Classroom for OrganicLea

Creating more space for nature-based learning and food growing skills

  • £38,906

    pledged of £38,000

    • 225


    • 0


This project received pledges on Sun 30 Sep 2018

The Project

OrganicLea's Woodland Classroom.

Help us raise £38,000 to build a new training space to meet an ever-growing demand for nature-based learning and food-growing skills in north-east London. Our Woodland Classroom will be nestled into the trees at our 12-acre organic market garden and wildlife haven, Hawkwood Plant Nursery. It will be a roundhouse structure built using organic materials from the local surroundings, with traditional greenwood techniques.  Most importantly it will be used for workshops, training, a place for people to gather and be, a space for nature-based learning activities for all age groups and an informal educational setting for those who thrive outside of the norm.

Who are We?

OrganicLea is a food-growing cooperative located in north-east London in the borough of Waltham Forest, on the edge of Epping Forest in the Lea Valley.  We work with individuals, communities, schools and groups offering horticultural training and volunteering, enabling people to take part in a better and more just food system as they reconnect with the land, their food and each other. We support a diversity of people to gain confidence, skills and social connection, and to improve their wellbeing.

Our Story

At OrganicLea, people and community are just as important to us as soil and food production. In people, as in plants, we know everything has value and we celebrate diversity. Since 2001, when we began clearing and growing food on a small derelict allotment site in north-east London, encouraging people to learn and enjoy growing food in nature has been at the heart of everything we do. We now work around the corner from this allotment, in Hawkwood Plant Nursery, a previously disused 12-acre tree nursery owned by our local council. This move allowed us to significantly increase the amount of people we could work with, the range of opportunities we could offer to trainees and volunteers, and begin the work of setting up an ultra-local veg and fruit bag scheme in Waltham Forest.

We deliver courses on everything from growing salads and surveying soil, to cooking from scratch and beekeeping. Every month we host open days where the public can come for volunteering opportunities, free workshops, a forest school, good food and good company. Last year alone, over 225 school students and adult learners completed one of our training courses and we partnered with eight schools and facilitated six community gardens to flourish.

Many of our community of 160 volunteers have been referred to OrganicLea through mental health services or are long-term unemployed and at serious risk of social isolation. We have an innovative programme to provide training for people with learning disabilities. Coming to OrganicLea can be truly transformational, a place of hope and opportunity.

"It changed everything for me... It’s an incredible place. I find it really hard not to sound too cheesy but it’s such a lush community space. It’s got so much energy, it’s such a caring space. My message to potential donors? You need to come here and check it out and then you’ll see how much love and passion there is here. It’s such a supportive environment for all sorts of people – but you’ve got to come to really experience it." - Jess, volunteer and Level 1 Work-Based Horticulture graduate

We have grown into a thriving community of people that love being outdoors, growing food and eating together. However, the facilities we have can't cope with demand. We currently have only one training room, which is regularly oversubscribed and we are having to limit learners, schools and community organisations that want to visit and learn with us.

We need more space to continue to grow! With the money you donate we can make this happen.

Where Will the Money Go?

If we hit the minimum target of £25,000 we can build a basic roundhouse timber-frame structure that's weather-proof, enclosed and functional.

If we make our full target of £38,000, the Woodland Classroom can be used year round and will be insulated, warmed by a wood burner and connected to the solar panels in our main building. We would also be able to provide year-round accesibility to the space with hard-landscaped paths from the main building.

Beyond the target, we can create learning aids and increase habitats for wildlife around the classroom, further enhancing the teaching experience at OrganicLea.


  • Building materials (£11,500)
  • Skilled workers (£13,500)
  • Installing water and electricity (£5,000)
  • Ensuring the site is accessible by people with extra mobility needs (£8,000)


To say thanks, we have a few things to give back. From OrganicLea tote bages to workshops at Hawkwood, to a night out at one of the fancy restaurants we supply to . You can even bag a year's supply of fruit and veg!

Help us succeed by spreading the word and donating!

  • Please share this project with friends and networks on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and by email, telephone, a chat at the bus stop or down the allotment.
  • Hold a fundraiser. Could you do a bake sale or supper club for us? We'd really appreciate anything you can do to help make this happen.
  • Donate as much or as little as you can.

Find us here

Choose reward

Pledge £1 or more

Select this reward if you just want to donate to the project without receiving a reward.

111 claimed

Pledge £10 or more

Come and celebrate the successful completion of the Woodland Classroom at an opening ceremony.

33 claimed of 50

Estimated delivery: 1 March 2019

Pledge £25 or more

A beautiful 'What's in your Salad Bag' tea towel made from organic cotton woven by a women's cooperative and printed with environment friendly inks. It will also help you identify your salad leaves!

56 claimed of 40

Estimated delivery: 1 November 2018

Pledge £50 or more

Get your hands on one of our first-ever OrganicLea totebags. Excellent for carrying your fruit and veg, and for starting conversation!

14 claimed of 40

Estimated delivery: 1 November 2018

Pledge £150 or more

Dinner for four at Eat17 - organic, local and delicious fare in the heart of Walthamstow.

3 claimed of 1

Estimated delivery: 1 October 2018

Pledge £200 or more

A date with an OrganicLea grower - a tailor made consultation at your garden or allotment with one of our lead growers at Organiclea.

2 claimed of 3

Estimated delivery: 1 April 2019

Pledge £200 or more

Dinner for two at Vegwells Vegan Supperclub - an initiative of Tredwells' Marcus Wareing and Chantelle Nicholson. Includes tasting menu, matching wines and signed copy of Chantelle Nicholson's book Planted

2 claimed of 2

Pledge £250 or more

ROVI, the latest Ottolenghi restaurant, and customer of ours, has given us 2 meals for 2 people for anyone who donates £250 or more to our Woodland Classroom. We hope this tickles your taste buds!

3 claimed of 1

Pledge £750 or more

Artist Dan Hillier, is creating a unique artwork, Origin, for our Woodland Classroom campaign. Origin, is a stunning artwork about wildness, nature and human experience, just like our Woodland Classroom!

1 claimed of 1

Pledge £2500 or more

Free fruit and veg for a year! Eat the seasons with a subscription to our delicious and local box scheme and share in the harvest with your friends and family at home. Available in Waltham Forest only. Don't live in the borough? Donate your veg, or pick another prize.

0 claimed of 2

Estimated delivery: 1 November 2018