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Leadenhall City Farm Proposal – London, England

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Fungi and Rhubarb Garden – The north facing end of the site will be in shade most of the day and most of the year. Large logs would be impregnated with fungi spores, the rhubarb and mint would be grown beneath them providing interesting food and creating am exotic and educational lunch time destination.

Leadenhall City Farm
By Mitchell Taylor Workshop

“Parks, allotments and markets are set to spring up across Britain on the sites of building projects that have been mothballed in the recession.

“Piers Taylor, of Mitchell Taylor Workshop, one of the practices shortlisted for the Leadenhall site has proposed a city farm, populated with colour-coded chickens. He wants to create grassy banks to picnic on and plant blackberry bushes amid the surrounding steel, granite and glass.”
– from The Times Oct 30, 2009

Mitchell Taylor Workshop: 122 Leadenhall Street

Introduction

This proposal for the site in Leadenhall addresses three key issues: public open space; views into the site from neighbouring buildings, and radically enhancing the the Leadenhall street frontage.

It does this through the creation of a city farm with public access that has a seasonal planting strategy designed using careful sunlight analysis, and a series of ‘outlets’ that sit in the hoarding on Leadenhall street selling produce grown on site, and a soup kitchen on the gantry serving food prepared with ingredients from the site.

Scale and incident are added through the addition of a number of key growing enclosures which would be constructed during the 2010 ‘Studio in the Woods’ which we would propose is held on the site.

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We believe that in addition the value added to the site for minimum outlay, that there is a joy in reconnecting with the earth that would once have been on the site. We have made a place where city workers can smell/sniff/taste/touch/buy produce grown on site, walk through flowerbeds, picnic on wildflower banks, and watch the changing seasons.

Strategy for Management

Riverford Organic have indicated that they are interested in being the first ‘stakeholder’ for the site, advising on getting the site established and economically independent. It is envisaged from conversations with Riverford that there could be a number of people employed on the site, paid by the commercial sale of produce from the city farm.

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Strategy for Growing

A palette of vegetables, fruits, cereal crops and flowers and has been put together to allow produce to be cropped each month and to provide plant interest and colour throughout the year.

The site has three distinct growing areas; full sun, partial shade and deep shade, each with its own distinct character. The sunniest part of the site will be home to fruiting vegetables, soft fruits, herbs and root vegetables. Leafy, green crops such as cabbages, broccoli and spinach can cope with more shade, so will occupy the central, partially shaded part of the site. In the deep shade of the southern part of the site there will be a log forest of exotic mushrooms, such shitake and oysters underplanted with shade tolerant crops such as rhubarb and mint.
The garden will be a place for city workers to escape to at lunch times, a place for children to learn from and a source of food for the proposed booths along Leadenhall Street.

Strategy for Infastructure

Infrastructure is minimal and cost effective. The main planters use standard size precast drainage channels filled with soil contained in a standard ‘dumpy’ bag. This enables the planters to be flexible, recycled, and easily relocated on this site, or to another site. A modest amount of terracing is needed on the east and south facing ‘bank’ in the north west of the site, and this could simply be carried out with a mini digger and scaffold boards as retaining devices. The hoarding can be retained, albeit with the addition of cut outs in the shape of vegetables to access the ‘outlets’ contained behind the hoarding, which could also be constructed from scaffolding and boarding.

It is proposed that four larger growing ‘devices’ are located around the site, which would be constructed during the 2010 ‘Studio in the Woods’ which is hosted by Mitchell Taylor Workshop. These could also be used to house chickens and other livestock.

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Strategy for Cost

Our cost plan shows that £125k covers the purchase or drainage channels, soil, dumpy bags, scaffolding and minor re terracing of the bank, the creation of the ‘outlets’ along Leadenhall Street (accessed through the hoarding) and also the construction of the ‘growing devices’ to be constructed during the 2010 Studio in the Woods. However, if budget was slashed, just the ‘booths’ along Leadenhall Street could be constructed.

See Mitchell Taylor Workshop here.

See large Presentation Boards here. They can be enlarged for better viewing.

First here.

Second here.

See Times article: Allotments, parks and urban farms are rising above Britain’s gleaming towers here.