As we roar into the full swing of the growing season, all sorts of green shoots have been spotted reaching for summer sun on The Farm. Our Learning Area is one such shoot that has been busily establishing itself but, alas, missing one vital ingredient: you!
People are very much at the heart of The Community Farm. Here, Hatty Richards, our Communities and Partnerships Manager, reflects on the Learning Area and how lockdown has invited us to explore other ways to connect people to nature and to The Farm when we can’t welcome them onto our land:
'It will come as no surprise to hear that the current situation has temporarily put the brakes on our plans to make good use of the first growing season in our new Learning Area. Where we hoped that a mixture of groups from within the community would be learning how to create a forest garden, enjoying our roundhouse and gardens and filling our lovely new raised beds with beneficial plants, herbs and vegetables, instead the area has been left to quietly bed-in it's newly planted, trees, shrubs and flowers, and to begin to establish those elements that will make it the perfect nature-friendly environment for learning.
Though so far it's mostly been for the benefit of nature (including a resident duck who's taken a liking to our new pond!), the good news is it's all but ready for when we can welcome our community back to enjoy the space, to connect with each other and the land. In the meantime, we've been working hard to find ways that we can continue to have an impact on people's skills, knowledge and wellbeing, even if they can't physically access the site. “The COVID-19 Fund” has been helping to bring good food, educational materials and nature connection to those in need, and Two Trees Catering has even been using our roundhouse (and some of our “veg on the edge”) to prepare their delicious offerings for delivery. Our good friends EcoWild will also be hosting digital nature walks from The Farm in the not-too-distant future.
Never in recent memory has it felt more important to be able to escape the city, get into nature and be part of the movement for sustainable food and farming; there is a collective need for this nourishment and this coming together. Thankfully, the possibility of us being able to welcome more people onto the land to take part in our volunteering scheme and for other activities is looking ever more likely as lockdown eases. Make sure you keep an eye on our various media channels for updates on these changes and newly planned upcoming events.'