We started in 2008, springing from a meeting of about 50 local people who got together to discuss the inadequacies of our local food supply. We got to work and two years later we were growing food for members on a little piece of local land.
We have been celebrating local, sustainable food ever since, and teaching the local community about ecological, low-impact farming methods and seasonal food.
We grow all kinds of veg which is distributed to our members through a subscription service, managed through the OOOOBY platform - Out Of Our Own Backyards.
In 2016 we had to search for a new plot of land to continue the project. It was a bit of a setback, but we eventually found a new site. It took a couple of years to put all the infrastructure in - poly tunnels, rabbit-proof fences and more.
Both food and membership has been growing since then, and harvests continue to increase.
We invite people to visit on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, where they can join our growers and learn about the farm. Anyone can join our committed growers and volunteers and we certainly welcome the help! There are lots of jobs available, and no experience is needed.
At the packing hub, over 100 bags of produce are filled by our volunteers in a fun, friendly atmosphere. We welcome help with this, as well as organisational tasks or fundraising, whenever community members want to get involved. There's something for everyone to contribute, and we couldn't do it without the whole community coming together.
Our vision for the future includes plans to expand our growing and get even more local people on board!
In 2016 we lost our growing land, which was a big blow. It took a lot of searching to find a new plot, which requires patience and making use of our strong local networks. We had a good understanding of what we needed after growing for several years on the first site. If it's your first growing project it's well worth taking a lot of time to learn all you can about local soil and land from allotments, farmers or growers near you. Making sure you have healthy soil and a market to buy your produce are crucial to avoid financial problems and burn out.
We are led by a farm manager and grower with lots of help from volunteers. This set-up has various strengths and weaknesses but anyone can get involved and help out if they want to. We offer as many tasks as we can to keep it varied and interesting, and to encourage people to dig in. The rewards of building a strong community and teaching people about growing are huge.
You can start growing anywhere, from a windowsill herb garden to a garden patch or allotment but if you want to grow commercially to pay a wage you do need good infrastructure such as water, access, storage and protection from animals such as rabbits or deer. It's fantastic to eat what you've grown, especially knowing that it's locally grown with optimum nutrition because of healthy soil and reduced time between harvest and consumption.
Working with your community to produce food can be great fun and the satisfaction of having more control over your food system is very empowering. As we learn more about soil biology it’s becoming clearer that this type of farming also has a huge part to play in drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, helping to reduce the impacts of climate change. There are more and more small scale, agro-ecological farms popping up all the time. Find one and ask to go along and get involved so you can learn and find out if this is something you'd like to do.
Quantity of produce
Number of community volunteers involved