Meet the man making London edible

Coming from a farming family in Cyprus, Sunny Karagozlu transferred his horticultural skills to the unlikely environment of London. Repurposing disused land as thriving vegetable gardens, he set up Community Interest Company Edible London

Throughout the pandemic, the north London-based initiative – which aims to grow food and prevent waste – has been invaluable to those struggling to put food on their tables. It feeds up to 35,000 people a week with fresh, organically-grown fruit and vegetables. 

“No pun intended, Edible London actually happened very organically,” says Sunny. “I changed my life – eating differently, changing what I do with my time – to become more environmentally beneficial.” 

[Read More: The woman on a mission to tackle elderly loneliness]

The seeds of an idea

Edible London kicked off a couple of years ago, when Sunny started cultivating his parents’ vegetable garden in Tottenham. Soon, he was producing so much surplus food, he started to give it away. At first he would pass it on to neighbours, then he began donating to soup kitchens. 

During that time, Sunny was offered various gardening jobs, which he refused, determined to make his own way to help resolve the growing problem of food insecurity in the capital.

“I had this idea to make everything in London edible,” he says. “Then I thought, ‘that’s a good name’, and Edible London was born.”

‘It wasn’t a soup kitchen, it was a banquet’

Just one of the projects organised by Edible London involved distributing healthy vegan meals to people experiencing homelessness. This part of their work was different to the usual soup kitchens or food banks most readily available to vulnerable people.

[Read More: 5 benefits to living off grid]

Sunny used his cousin’s cafe in Tottenham to host people, treating his homeless invitees more like guests than charitable beneficiaries. He crafted beautiful invitations on recycled paper that he handed to people in person. 

“I went out and befriended people so now I know most of the homeless people in Tottenham by name,” he says. “I’d invite them to the cafe to sit down, chill out with us and enjoy the day. It wasn’t a soup kitchen, it was a banquet.”

Growing business for better

In two years, Edible London has expanded to more than 20 different sites across the city. It has distributed more than one million meals worth of ingredients, saved 300 tons of surplus food and gained 350 volunteers. 

The initiative offers safe spaces for thousands of local people to socialise, learn, eat and share. It teaches regenerative farming skills, hosts sensory classes for autistic children, and teaches the benefits of a plant-based diet with the support of local councils. 

This summer, Edible London is running a plant-based lunch club, extending its support to young people over the school holidays. Through its work – tackling hunger, poverty, health issues and more – the company is taking action on all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

When asked how he managed to develop the project so quickly, Sunny says: “It’s teamwork that makes it dream work, but good leadership is also integral to things operating well. I’m a proud leader of my organisation and, as my dad told me, that means I’m the first one at work, and the last one to leave.”

Edible London is run entirely of donations. To support their work strengthening communities in London, donate or offer to volunteer here.

For more information visit