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Category — England

From N16 to SW9: How London’s Urban Farmers are Cultivating the City

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growup
Kate Hofman and Tom Webster of GrowUp Urban Farms. Photo by Akira Chatani.

One of the most expensive cities in the world, London is not known for its urban agriculture. Yet a new generation of farmers is starting to change all that by transforming the city’s underground tunnels, industrial warehouses, and rooftops into urban acreage.

By Fiona Symington-Mitchell
Modern Farmer
February 3, 2016

Excerpt:

Former management consultant and a graduate of Climate-KIC, Kate Hofman believes to produce food in our cities we simply need to find the right products to grow in the right places. “This is why we think acquaponics and vertical farming is the right combination,” she says. “You are making the most effective use of space, while looking at food production holistically.”

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February 5, 2016   No Comments

UK: Council grants permission to Oxford City Farm to move into unused urban field

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oxfChairwoman Lucie Mayer enlists the help of some young volunteers at the Oxford City Farm

“If it’s going to teach people more about farming and get them involved I can only say that it’s a win win situation.

By Sophie Mogridge
Oxford Mail
Jan 18, 2016

Excerpt:

The site has been derelict for more than seven years and the land has since been given the all-clear for contaminants by Oxford City Council.

Ms Mayer added: “We’ve been working very long and hard to get this project together and we’re so thrilled that it’s finally coming together, although we don’t have any dates finalised as of yet.

“We can now start growing and working towards getting livestock on the farm but our next big focus is completing the lease and fundraising £40,000 more, but we’re happy to take our time in raising it.”

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January 23, 2016   Comments Off on UK: Council grants permission to Oxford City Farm to move into unused urban field

Allotment Garden Shed Destroyed by Vandals in Welsh Town

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barry
Bill Thomas with the remains of his burned down shed and tools at the Cemetery Lane allotments in Barry.

Grandfather’s plans for spending his retirement gardening are dashed after his shed is burned to the ground

By Dominic Jones
Barry and District
Dec 30, 2015

Excerpt:

Mr Thomas explained that the area is a hotspot for anti-social behaviour, with youths often breaking in to the allotments to use sheds for drinking. He suspects that this may be related to finding his shed destroyed following a phone call from the police days before Christmas.

“I was devastated, absolutely devastated,” said the grandfather of eight. “I could have cried when I saw it.

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January 5, 2016   Comments Off on Allotment Garden Shed Destroyed by Vandals in Welsh Town

City Farm in Swansea – Wales’ only community farm – needs support to survive

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swa
Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts visited the Swansea Community Farm (SCF) to see the multi-award winning project for himself and drum up support for the Fforestfach site.

“It would be a massive step backwards in efforts made to connect urban and rural life if this community farm is forced to close.”

Farming UK
Dec 9, 2015

Excerpt:

They need to raise £20,000 before Christmas and £50,000 by the end of March to ensure operations keep on running.

As a working farm they have always aimed to reconnect people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities with their food, their environment and each other and do this through a range of unique and exciting educational, volunteering, training and play projects.

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December 15, 2015   Comments Off on City Farm in Swansea – Wales’ only community farm – needs support to survive

Gorse Hill City Farm in Leicester, UK, turns 30

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gorse

Among the biggest city farms in the UK with more than 100 animals and much more, including a heritage trail, a cafe, play equipment and a giant plastic cow for children to milk.

By Tom Mack
Leicester Mercury
December 03, 2015

Excerpt:

Key to the farm’s success is the fact that the site itself raises about two thirds of the £150,000 it needs each year for wages, feed and other things, with the rest of the money coming from Leicester City Council.

Sarah said: “I am impressed that we’re still here. It shows that we’re something that’s needed in the community.

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December 10, 2015   Comments Off on Gorse Hill City Farm in Leicester, UK, turns 30

Church of England to sell community and educational centered farm in Exeter, UK

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exetr
£1.5m is needed to save city’s popular West Town Farm.

“We’re close to the city and people just love coming out here and now we do 150 visits a year.”

By Exeter Express and Echo
November 14, 2015

Excerpt:

For more than 10 years, West Town Farm in Ide and Organic Arts has provided an organic farm environment where people of all ages can experience farm life.

However, the 170 acres of land which is mainly pasture, belongs to the Church of England who have announced they will be selling the farm next spring. To secure the future of the land so that it can continue to be used for farming and can carry on offering school visits and farm open days, a fundraising campaign is being launched to buy the farm outright.

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November 22, 2015   Comments Off on Church of England to sell community and educational centered farm in Exeter, UK

London’s controversial garden bridge

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lonbrid
An artist’s impression of the proposed garden bridge. Photograph: EPA. Link to larger image.

It has seemed impervious to criticism up to now, but is the flawed fairytale plan to build a forest across the Thames finally beginning to wither?

By Oliver Wainwright
The Guardian
Oct 1, 2015

Excerpt:

It has been damned by the worthies of St Paul’s Cathedral, drawn thousands of signatures of public opposition and been slammed by Labour’s next London mayoral candidate but, like some undead zombie forest intent on haunting the Thames, the garden bridge just won’t go away.

Or will it?

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October 18, 2015   Comments Off on London’s controversial garden bridge

Manchester’s first inner city mushroom farm

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manmushInside the Biospheric Studio’s mushroom farm.

It’s really interesting to think about how forest systems work and how urban societies can learn from them

By Lucy Lovell
Munchies Vice
September 21, 2015

Excerpt:

After previewing at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival this month, the farm will take a permanent home in the city centre and supply local restaurants with organic shiitake mushrooms, going from farm to fork within 24 hours.

Waste from the farm is being used as a nutrient for a forest garden in the Blackfriars area of Salford, just north of Manchester. The garden is a managed forest ecosystem informed by Walsh’s years of studying forest systems in Africa.

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September 27, 2015   Comments Off on Manchester’s first inner city mushroom farm

£10,000 Grant to Archive Thousands of Photos, Slides And Film Footage Of Hackney City Farm History

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The site before the farm was built.

More than 600 volunteers had come together in the decade before the farm’s creation to find a suitable site for the urban farm

By Emma Bartholomew
Hackney Gazette
11 September 2015

Excerpt:

“We are in contact with the volunteer who led that movement, and the original farm manager, we have recordings of them, we want that to be at the archives so future generations can see how community action created the farm in the 80s.

“I think that kind of thing was much more usual and possible in the 80s because there were people who were able to and who did give their time because they felt that was important.

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September 20, 2015   Comments Off on £10,000 Grant to Archive Thousands of Photos, Slides And Film Footage Of Hackney City Farm History

Educational farm in Oxford, UK about to open

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Vision of a City Farm from Zoe Broughton on Vimeo.

UK Green Party leader Natalie Bennett visits site and supports the project

Oxford Mail
Sept 3, 2015

Excerpt:

Oxford City Farm, off Cornwallis Road in Cowley, is being built for those living in the city who may have never seen a working farm, or have learned where food comes from.

The farm’s steering group plans to turn the once-derelict site into an innovative community space, and is submitting a planning application to Oxford City Council this week.

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September 13, 2015   Comments Off on Educational farm in Oxford, UK about to open

Farm Animals at City Farms in London, England

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londfarmsLeonie Olu-Williams, Leah Cronin and Gene Brathwaite at Vauxhall City Farm.

A farm isn’t a farm without animals, and at Vauxhall City Farm they have plenty.

By Kate Gould
South London
July 2015

Excerpt:

Surrey Docks Farm is a working city farm occupying a 2.2 acre site on the Thames Path in Rotherhithe. It is open seven days a week and is free to get in.

Animals reared on the farm include a herd of goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, bees and donkeys.

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August 7, 2015   Comments Off on Farm Animals at City Farms in London, England

Kentish Town City Farm in London began in 1972

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A documentary made for the heritage project by the young filmaker, Joe Dickie.

By the late 60’s some people were taking over vacant properties and doing the repairs themselves. The squatting movement was born, and with it, the roots of Kentish Town City Farm.

In 1972, a local organization called Inter-Action rented a house, a cottage and part of the disused timber yard known as Gloster Parquet – now the site of Kentish Town City Farm. They found, tucked behind the terrace houses, the remains of a complex of buildings surrounded by yards of overgrown weeds that backed onto the railway. The buildings included stables, a workshop, a store house and steel framed hangars. Local businessmen donated building materials and equipment worth over £5000. A team of volunteers, youth workers, farm workers and Inter-Action’s architects and builders converted the stables and buildings into a farm, riding school and gardens.

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July 30, 2015   Comments Off on Kentish Town City Farm in London began in 1972

London’s first underground farm opens in WW2 air raid shelter

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lonunferMichel Roux Jr in the underground farm Photo: Paul Grove.r

The Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This is a fine example of the dynamic startups that are helping London lead the world in green business innovation. I want even more entrepreneurs to help create these brilliant concepts that are delivering thousands of jobs and boosting London’s green economy to almost £30 billion a year.

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
Telegraph
29 Jun 2015

Excerpt:

Phase one crops include pea shoots, several varieties of radish, mustard, coriander, Red Amaranth, celery, parsley and rocket.

“Our first shoots will be delivered to the surface in the next few weeks”, said co-founder Richard Ballard. “After eighteen months of research, development, growing trials – and tribulations – we’re about to start supplying into the market.”

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July 8, 2015   Comments Off on London’s first underground farm opens in WW2 air raid shelter

Feature documentary looking at the latest science about the health benefits of children re-connecting with nature

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“I think that city farms could play a massive part in future health!”

By Toni Harman,
Producer / Director, A Probiotic Life
2015

As well as the general point about the need for our children to reconnect with nature, the film explores the latest science that suggests young children could really benefit from being more exposed to more farm microbes.

We recently returned from filming on an Amish farm in Indiana where the children have remarkably low rates of asthma and allergies – the scientists hypothesise that a diet of locally sourced organic food plus the children being exposed to the microbes from farm animals from a very young age – these could be conferring considerable health benefits for the Amish children.

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July 1, 2015   Comments Off on Feature documentary looking at the latest science about the health benefits of children re-connecting with nature

UK university students learn to grow food

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growha
Anthropology student Celia Briseid selling freshly harvested vegetables at Growhampton’s weekly market day. Photograph: Joel Williams

I helped out for several years on an allotment owned by a neighbour who didn’t have time to use her full plot.

By Tess Riley
The Guardian
May 25, 2015

Excerpt:

In 2013, Growhampton was one of 25 student union projects to be helped financially by the National Union of Students (NUS), as part of their students’ green fund. Growhampton combines training, volunteering and education in food growing for students at the University of Roehampton. It manages the Hive, an ethical cafe constructed from two former shipping containers and upcycled furniture.

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June 6, 2015   Comments Off on UK university students learn to grow food