Barge East had a choppy start to 2020 with the COVID pandemic forcing them to seek crowdfunding to keep their beautiful 114-year-old Dutch barge moored in Hackney Wick. The three founders – childhood friends since school – were overwhelmed by the response from their local community when they smashed their target. Keen to give something back, the team at Barge East got to work making and donating food boxes to those in need, everyone from schoolchildren to frontline workers, throughout the pandemic.
Some of the excess funds raised were used to build a huge kitchen garden across the towpath from the barge, with around 40 varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs, planted and maintained by their chefs. One of the crops growing is hops and the team are working with Truman’s brewery to develop their own beer. The garden also hosts one of the largest outdoor hospitality spaces in east London.