Chyan Community Field

Community • Cornwall

Turning a disused field into an incredible permaculture demonstration to grow food, teach the community and work together to tackle environmental issues.

  • Photo by Zoe Schaeffer
  • Photo by Jonathan Kemper
  • Community veg garden

Our story

Chyan Community Field started in 2002, as a disused and overgrown field. Before that, some of our founding members were known as the Swamp Animal Free Circus. We toured across Europe and gradually became more eco-conscious, focusing on the importance of sustainability and food security. We made our final return from France with the opportunity to buy land with a fresh water springs. Water becomes a very high priority with travelling folk and so land with spring water was a heaven!

Local volunteers came together to clear the land, and we created this beautiful community space. Over the years we've watched veggie plots appear, compost heaps rise, a pond fill up, a tool shed be built, and much more. We have a community orchard full of Cornish apples, too. Our team even build a strawbale tea-shed to grab a cuppa in between all this hard work. It's a family-friendly space too, so you can find play areas, a willow den, and mud kitchen.

We're now a stunning self-sufficient space for everyone in the community to share, grow food, learn and enjoy. Our aim is to involve as many local people as we can on site, producing their own food, learning craft, having fun together and teaching each other about sustainable living.

We focus on permaculture and sustainability, and there are always plans for more projects in future, such as a potential outdoor classroom or theatre space. The space itself is vegan and organic, making the project as low-carbon, ethical and nature-friendly as possible. There are allotments for hire and community food-growing groups, We have two wind turbines on site that power what we need, and the water comes from a local spring, so we really are self sufficient at the Community Field.

Chyan Community Field is connected to the Chyan Cultural Centre, where we run all kinds of events, children's activity groups and training courses to get people outdoors, connecting with nature and enjoying themselves.

Our advice

Back in 1998 the site was full of our colourful circus trucks and living trailers. Due to planning laws and pressure from frightened neighbours, these were retired and slowly replaced with tractors, farm trailers and mowers. While it's a great shame and a huge challenge that this prejudice exists, it came with a kickstart for what is now an incredible community space for everyone.

Learn from each other. We share knowledge through courses and training, but we also receive it from each visitor to the Field. Everyone has something to give, and something to learn from us, and this has helped to make this beautiful space such a haven for the local community and beyond.

When we first started out, fresh vegetables, elderflower cordial, comfrey manure and people to help work the land were first priorities! Get some ideas in mind and focus on them as your end goal, taking each step along the way to make it happen.

Permaculture values all life, and every effort counts. Each stage you reach is a huge milestone, whether it's sourcing a Cornish apple tree stock, building an entire tool shed, or turning over the soil on your first veg plot.

Our metrics

Crops planted, projects completed, visitors received, food grown, and many more.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Location

Cornwall

Response to climate crisis

Adaptation

Reach

Town

Organisation

Community, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Brett Jackson

Updated Feb, 2024

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