Phili Denning, owner of Naked Larder, low cost, plastic and packaging-free shopping service, keen environmentalist, and proud mother of two sons. 

How long have you lived in the area? 

Over 20 years, which I can hardly believe myself. I was born and grew up in Richmond which is also lovely. Doubt I’ll ever make it North of the river! 

What brought you here? 

Meeting Adam, my partner and super Dad to our wonderful boys. 

What do you most value about the area/street you live in? 

Herne Hill is a great mix. Close to London with all the city has available, between the diversity of Brixton and Dulwich, Brockwell and Dulwich parks on the doorstep and most of my closest friends in the area. We are also blessed with a lovely range of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. I love Peachy Goat and the Parlour Cafe. 

What one thing would you change? 

The ever-increasing amount of packaging litter blowing around the streets! Single-use, disposable items have become the norm, convenience is thrust upon us everywhere, coffee-cups, drinks bottles, and now single-use PPE too. It’s time to move away from this urgently. 

Do you know your neighbours? 

Yes absolutely. We have many lovely friends in the surrounding streets. Running a community based, business for the last three years means I’ve met even more local people, made new connections and really value bringing something good to our area. 

Do you belong to any groups? 

I’m a member of several environmental groups including Lambeth Extinction Rebellion and Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). It was wonderful to be awarded Plastic Free Champion status from SAS earlier this year.  

When I want to relax… 

I love to snuggle up in clean sheets in bed with a good book. 

What is your favourite shop? 

Naked Larder obviously! But apart from that, I love Oxfam in Herne Hill. I avoid buying new clothes these days, opting for 2nd hand to save resources. I’ve found some absolute gems in there. 

My perfect holiday.. 

Would have to be with my close friends and family in the lake country in Canada. A beautiful place to relax, connect with nature and wildlife and have plenty of fun in the water. Packed with childhood memories of holidays in my Aunt’s very simple and rustic wooden cottage!  

My secret ambition… 

To effect mass change in shopping habits for the health of our planet (big ambition I know!). Supermarkets, with their over-packaged, wasteful and unethical practices, need to be challenged. It would be amazing to make packaging-free shopping the norm, not the niche, to bring all grocery shopping back to small, local, independent businesses with higher ethical standards and firmly grounded in local communities.  

This article first appeared in the April issue of SE21 magazine