A couple of years ago, we met Gary at the London Fields Sunday Market in Hackney, London. Gary was a new-comer to a great initiative which led us to buy most of our fresh groceries for the week in one place: vegetables, eggs, parmesan, chocolate, poultry etc. Gary is a fisherman and he brings his catch from the East coast: seasonal fish ethically caught from his small boat and the oysters from the Roach river and the channel. Over months of discussions, he revealed his busy schedule of two days a week taking care of the oyster farm, and the rest fishing, some of which we'd be fortunate to be able to buy and eat in London. Oysters are tested monthly but in March this year, when the pandemic struck, it was no longer possible to test them and therefore to sell them. A loss for our palates but a more serious impact on Gary's livelihood as he lost the sales and his salary working the farm.
Six months later, there is an opportunity for him to buy the equipment and right to use the farm from its current owner, John, who'd be happy to work full time at his other oyster farm in Scotland. Gary would need £5000 to buy the rights for its use. It will take a year for the new seeds of oysters to grow to be sold, and for him to earn money from the enterprise.
Perhaps you already know him and you'll agree, or come on Sundays to meet him, he will tell you stories of fishing since childhood. If you're lucky and early you'll get the freshest fish.
Gary will need to seed in January of 2021 but we aim to help him buy the farm in December 2020 to prepare.
The current owner has had offers for a lot more money from people who don't intend to continue the oyster farming and he is holding off while Gary fund-raises. He trusts Gary to continue and keep a licence which could simply disappear if the use of the area would change. He also agreed to buy the seeds for the first year to help Gary.
Even if you are not a fan of oysters, you could be happy to help a local man continue his small and special trade and to continue shining in our community.
Dent-De-Leone & LPPL (Hackney residents)
All profits go to Gary’s black beard oysters farm.
If you'd prefer donating on the Gofund website: