Right in the middle of Bristol, between family homes and train tracks, St. Werburghs City Farm has been part of the community for over 40 years. A farm that’s free for anyone to visit and is home to goats, sheep, pigs and birds, a community garden that is open all year and events like the Summer and Winter Fair have been an important staple of the area.
Recently, the farm introduced another project to their repertoire: Propagation Place is a part of the community garden where people can grow vegetables in a propagation tunnel. If you’re involved and helping with the planting, you get to take home a share of the harvest when it’s in season.
“There are links between gardening and wellbeing. You get to learn new, meaningful skills and be part of the community”, says Jess Clynewood, Horticultural Trainer at the City Farm.
The project started in 2015, when St Werburghs City Farm decided they wanted to support their local food system directly. They thought they could supply plug plants to their neighbouring 13 acres of allotments, they would have a community business that could provide loads of great volunteering and educational opportunities.
Jess has always been interested in food growing and community work. “This is such a lovely place and I’m not tied to the office; I get to work outside.”
“We have been around for very long, so the community accepts us as part of them. They really value the space.”
The farm doesn’t just offer gardening. They also support disadvantaged members of the community to learn by providing placements for adults with learning disabilities helping young people at risk of exclusion finish their education or supporting disadvantaged adults to gain in skills and confidence.
In urban environments people often don’t have enough access to green spaces. St. Werburghs City Farm aims to get people out of the house and bring them together.
On their website it says: “Our vision is to inspire and educate happy, healthy communities through green spaces, local food and each other.”
They want to increase knowledge of where food comes from, improve people’s confidence in growing and cooking and support greater access to local food.
“Through projects like Propagation Place we want to help everyone meet new people and learn new skills”, says Jess. “The community garden is already being used by loads of people. It’s just a very nice place.”
St Werburghs is one of a few City Farms and similar projects in Bristol. “Bristol is very lucky to have access to quite a few farms and green spaces. But more is always more. We should make good use of our green spaces”, says Jess.
The farm and the community garden are a way to turn a green space into a healthier and happier area in the city.