Did you sign the Kentish Town City Farm petition?


The root of the story – as you’ll doubtless be aware by now – was an e-petition on the website 38degrees. Set up by a well-meaning local, it has pulled in over 7k signatures (and counting) within the space of a fortnight. But is the much-loved institution actually facing closure?



Oink. Some happy piglets at Kentish Town City Farm. Photograph by Stephen Emms
Oink. Some happy piglets at Kentish Town City Farm. Photograph by Stephen Emms

We’ve had plenty of people get in touch over the last couple of weeks, concerned that London’s original city farm is threatened with imminent closure.

The root of the story – as you’ll doubtless be aware by now – was an e-petition on the website 38degrees. Set up by a well-meaning local, it has pulled in over 7k signatures (and counting) within the space of a fortnight.

Did you sign it? How could you not, right? We all love the farm. The problem, as was swiftly pointed out by Camden Council’s Theo Blackwell, is that although budgets are being tightened – and where aren’t they? – neither the farm nor those who continue to fund it have even so much as mooted the potential of closure.

City Farm reps
City Farm reps
Yet still thousands of well-intentioned e-protestors willingly gave up their email addresses to this ‘cause’ without a second thought as to its validity. I’d wager many of those are regularly also up in arms about Facebook privacy, pornography filters, Twitter trolling and the rest of today’s hot internet related news topics, but the click-to-support culture of e-petitions is also becoming a problem.


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The impressive power that sites like 38degrees have enabled is being rapidly devalued by just how easy and brainless it is to throw one’s support behind all manner of worthy campaigns, with no real investment or understanding in what is really going on.

Of course it’s heartening to see such passion for Kentish Town’s groundbreaking city farm, but in its 40th anniversary year, we already know there’s bucketloads of that. What the petition furore has achieved is to reveal the squeezed financial situation there. So rather than adding a name to list and shouting #savekentishtowncityfarm, we suggest everyone who cares does the one thing that really can make a difference, and donates directly to the farm.

You can do it here. Go on. And as with crossing the road, remember the mantra of all online action: think before you click.


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  • veetmaya

    Well it is true that the budget is 40k down on last year. Given that Camden Council do take major decisions behind closed doors its not such a bad thing that the petition came about. Mornington Sports Centre was closed down without consultation a few months after a majorly expensive refurbishment and Kingsway College, Holmes Road was also made over to the French Lycee without anyone at ground level knowing about it.

    • Theo Blackwell (@camdentheo)

      Yes but the decision on KT City Farm funding was made in 2011, I wonder why it’s subject to a petition now?

      Camden does not take decisions behind closed doors, unlike some other authorities our Cabinet meetings are held in public, residents can and do can make deputations and they are even webcast for the benefit of the public. There is also a public scrutiny process so, in the even of major cuts, decisions can be challenged by anyone. These meetings are regularly advertised.

      Mornington was closed down, sadly, because every budget had to take a 20% cut in the first round of cuts but it was also victim of the success of KT Baths. The closure did not happen “months” after a refurbishment but it is true to say that the extent of the cuts has meant that some things have closed which otherwise would stayed open

      Westminster Kingsway is not part of the council, so I can’t speak for Holmes Road but what’s the beef about that?

  • Cymrocamden

    I agree with the comment about petitions being devalued. The quality of debate on this has been incredibly low. I also suspect that some people are so wedded to conspiracies that it does not actually matter what is said. The instigator of the petition was quoted on the transition town Facebook as saying that councillors were “duplicitous, lying bastards”. My advice check your facts before signing, and check who is behind the petition. The director of the farm wrote to me and said they were not responsible for the confusion. I suspect this is the last thing they need.

  • anthony

    The success of the petition demonstrates how important the farm is to many people. I don’t see how such a petition can damage the farm – or negatively impact any legitimate process affecting the future of the farm; therefore I would happily sign it. If the instigator of the petition has strong feelings about politicians;- I do not see how this discredits the sentiments of those who have signed this or any other petition.