North London's Cultural Guide

Kentish Town City Farm at 50: celebrations start here

2022 sees the UK's oldest city farm reach its half century. We look at its history - and what's in store now

Half a century ago, at the start of 1972, a local organization called Inter-Action rented a house, a cottage and part of the disused timber yard known as Gloster Parquet.

Tucked behind the terrace houses, they found the remains of a complex of buildings surrounded by yards of overgrown weeds that backed onto the railway. The buildings included stables, a workshop, a store house and steel-framed hangars.


Local businessmen donated building materials and equipment worth over five grand – a lot back then. A team of volunteers, youth workers, farm workers and Inter-Action’s architects and builders converted the stables and buildings into a farm, riding school and gardens.
Since then, the former co-op has gone through a number of changes, managing to sustain itself through tough times while still offering a much-needed resource to the local community’s children and adults, and specifically to its most marginalised members.
Thus the farm works to help people connect with animals, nature and environment by providing an extensive programme of activities, from horse-riding to activities for people with disabilities and disadvantaged children. Take a few minutes to watch this:

Fast forward 50 years and what is the UK’s first city farm, originally City Farm 1, celebrates its big birthday in 2022.
The festive season always sees the farm really coming into its own, with Santa in his Garden Grotto, minced pies and mulled wine, hot chocolate, gift ideas and goodies for all, as well as a Constellation Treasure Trail.

The Big Tree Takeaway.

And for the first fundraiser of 2022, get involved in The Big Tree Takeaway, in which farm volunteers collect trees locally with proceeds helping the farm. (You need to pay to book a slot via the link below.)
Goats love trees for snacking, and it partners with Hampstead Heath who responsibly recycle the rest; in 2021 they chipped about 600 trees for use in their green spaces.

Kentish Town City Farm
Main entrance. Photo: PR

“It’s a fun way to dispose of your tree,” says chairperson Angela Wood, “which raised £7500 last year. And it reminds us all how important it is to reuse and recycle.”
Better still, it helps support the farm at the start of its biggest landmark year yet. In fact, there’s a whole twelve months of celebrations on the horizon – so let’s all raise a glass, indeed.

Follow @kentishtowncityfarm on Instagram, @ktcityfarm on Twitter for the latest. Bookings for tree collections, which take place on Fri 7th Jan, are through Eventbrite.

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.