2012 is not just about the Olympics; it’s the year that Kentish Town City Farm – the UK’s first ever City Farm – celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Founded on a disused timber yard in 1972, it’s a four and a half acre site based in the heart of Gospel Oak, staffed by members of the local community, trustees and volunteers – and home to ducks, geese, horses, goats, pigs, sheep and more. The good news is we have just received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the farm’s story to be collated and exhibited – this makes a huge difference to our birthday celebrations, as we can now collaborate even further with the members of our local community.
And there are more activities on offer than you might think, too: cheap riding lessons for local disadvantaged children; a busy, vibrant volunteer programme working with people of all ages and abilities; farm tours for local schools and organisations; art, gardening, and cooking.
But, along with so many other organisations, the farm is facing challenging times – over the next three years it will lose almost 75% of core funding from Camden. In order to survive these critical years, we need your support – if you can give us your time, skills, energy or money please do get in touch. With your help we can make sure we are around to celebrate the next 40 years.
Some people ask us why we don’t have a cafe like many other City Farms. We simply don’t have the money to build one – and if we did it would have to be completely separated from the farm, due to health and safety. This would mean possibly building it on the opposite embankment to the farm yard which has huge implications for staffing, and is also incredibly expensive. It might well be that with current funding cuts we will need to look into getting out a loan to build it. And in fact we do currently have somebody local who is researching the idea of a cafe for us. So watch this space.
And if you haven’t been down for a while, join us at the start of our 40th celebrations for an indoor table top sale on Sunday February 12th, noon to 4pm.
Finally, take a look at this lovely photograph from the late 1970’s – John Langan is the stockman and is still working at the farm today.
Words: Simone Uncle, City Farm’s events coordinator