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Farm Newsletter - October 2016

Welcome to your October update from the Farm! We have enjoyed welcoming in the Autumn with lots of wonderful squash and pumpkin harvests.

We need your help to raise money for the Farm! Southwark's Mayor has chosen us as one of her charities and is organising a sponsored 'duckathon'! If you'd like to do your bit and swim for the Farm find out how on the council's website

We were pleased to partner with the team from Big Local and welcomed two groups of volunteers from Belmond to help on the Farm. The volunteers were supported our livestock team mucking out, shifted the huge temporary muck heap out of our field, built a new compost bin AND cleared, weeded, leveled and tidied the youth allotments! Thankfully the Big Local team were on hand to provide lunch and lots of delicious home made cakes to keep them going.

It's not long until our next big event at the Farm, make sure our 'Christmas Fair' is in your diaries on Saturday 3rd December, 11am-4pm.
We'll have roast chestnuts, wreath making, santa's grotto, children's craft activities, mulled wine and a BBQ. It's also a great place to find unique Christmas gifts - whether in our farm shop, on our farm produce stall or by browsing the lovely craft stalls in our yard.



It's definitely breeding season on the Farm! The rams have settled in with our ewes and we've just welcomed a handsome Anglo Nubian billy goat, who is on loan to breed with our girls.
The billy goats name is Alfie and he is friendly, but a bit posessive of his new girls, so we've shut the herd into the middle section of the yard. You can still feed the goats, we're just keeping the public area of the yard goat-free while he's here!

Our lamb meat is back from the butchers and now on sale in the farm shop.
Our catering partners Lusso bought some lamb meat and their exceutive chef gave this great feedback: "The lamb was fantastic - not seen lamb of the quality for a while". Why not come and sample some for yourself!

Youth Clubs

The Farm is a very popular place for young people. We run projects for families and very young children, right up to 13 years. From 14 our youth club members graduate to become volunteers.     

Get Farming Club - The group were really pleased with their revamped youth allotment area and have been thinking and planning what to grow over winter and next year. They harvested their pumpkins, including the huge one hanging over the wall into Rotherhithe Street!
The young people have also been creating wildlife friendly areas including a 'toad abode' to give places for animals to hibernate and keep warm in over winter.

Young Farmers Club - The highlight this month was definitely the camp! Young Farmers put up their own tents and put their bushcraft skills to the test, lighting a fire to cook over. They enjoyed night hikes, rock climbing and archery.
We were all sad to say goodbye to Emily our Young Farmers Assistant, who has spent many years supporting the group and is a big part of the Club. We wish her all the best as she starts her PGCE course to become a teacher.

October half term - The education team laid on a busy week of activities including full day Farm Club and Bushcraft Clubs for 8-13 year olds. Family Cooking sessions were popular, with apple pies and amazing bread creations being produced and one child even made a 'ring-tailed lemur loaf'!


Piecing Together Our Past

We've had a very promising start to this new Heritage Lottery Funded project.  The first foreshore training session was held, where volunteers were shown all the different pieces of Metropolitan Asylums Board and London County Council crockery pieces to look out for on the foreshore, and where and how to find them.  We were joined by top Rotherhithe mudlarker Alan Murphy who donated the first big find for some months - a large plate base with the MAB initials.  We also had our first session of sorting and trying to piece together the hundreds of fragments, and have managed to put together several sections of plate rims - you can see our progress in the display cabinet on the riverside. 

We have also started research at the London Metropolitan Archives, going through the handwritten report books from the Receiving Station - finding stories like the clerk who was evicted from his lodgings when they found out he worked at the smallpox receiving station, and a curious paragraph concerned about a surplus of lemonade stores due to low consumption on site.  Particularly exciting has been the discovery of all the original reports from when the Blitz destroyed the Receiving Station, and the incredible escapes of all the staff and residents. We now have the individual stories of seven firemen and auxiliaries and their death-defying deeds rescuing staff and residents on that night, which resulted in bravery and gallantry awards for most of them.  Two of these we didn't know about at all previously, but found by searching through folders of documents. 

We are still welcoming new volunteers to get involved with the project - please see for full details or contact . 

Training Projects

We deliver training projects for adult students with learning disabilities. Students develop skills in a range of areas including horticulture, retail, cooking, crafts, animal care and basic maintenance.

Plot to Shop
The team produced a bumper harvest in October including: leeks, squash, beetroot and salad leaves. The students are now focusing on winter crops and cleared the raised beds that held courgettes and beans to replace with aquadulche broad beans, meteor peas, kale, garlic and onions. They have saved their runner beans to sew next year.


Farm Produce
Autumn is here and with it lots of new projects and fun in Farm Produce!
The group have made chutneys on our biodigester, some colorful batiks for cushions, lots of cooking and tidying up and we finally started the natural dyes project, which looks very promising and exciting!
The students enjoyed carving their pumpkins into faces and even made an evil pumpkin goat that has settled in the shop for Halloween... Boo!


New Leaf
Another busy month for the New Leaf students, including lots of harvesting, sowing and sieving compost. Tony has picked his green and red tomatoes and then cut the tomato plants down in the polytunnel. The group have planted bulbs of onion and garlic and sown peas and beans by the river. Andrew and Michael have dug up their potatoes, while Lou and Earl carved pumpkins they had grown for Halloween. The group enjoyed making pizzas in the wood oven last week!


Moo Crew & Cow Pat
Moo crew have had a busy few weeks. Jordan and Matt have been working on getting the muck heaps back in order, combined with quite a few visits to the builders to discuss football scores! 
Kieron and Claire had meeting to discuss cows. Kieron is very keen to train cows to walk on the halter, plans afoot.
Victoria who supports Louise has sadly left now. Both Moo Crew and New Leaf are very sad to see her go.
The Cow Pat students are working with goats, donkeys and have given the ducks a big house cleaning which was well needed!


Green Grow Cook and Go!

There is a new garden being constructed in the bridge of land between the new muckheap and the youth allotments following the principals of Permaculture. The garden will focus on ecological and sustainable practices and will be planted entirely with edible plants. Saturday morning drop-in gardeners have been working hard to prepare the site for the new garden and over the next few Saturdays we need helpers to fill and plant a herb spiral, prepare the ground for sowing and to plant a mulberry tree donated to the Farm by the Conservation Foundation. Alongside this there are seedlings to pot on and hanging baskets to plant up, so the work definitely continues throughout the colder months. Everyone is welcome to get involved - simply pop along to the Farm on Saturday mornings. No previous gardening experience is necessary.

The Natural Dye workshop which took place on the 22nd October was a huge success with many different plants (some Farm grown) creating some bright and vivid colours. It was interesting to use nettle, a plant in abundance at the Farm, as a mordant to prepare fabrics for dyeing. Thanks to Emma D'Arcey for imparting her knowledge of sustainable and ecological dyeing practices to the attendees. 

Thank you to GoodGym Southwark for holding their extended taster session at the Farm on Saturday 22nd October. The runners worked really hard transporting the bricks for the herb spiral to their final location, clearing overgrown plants, harvesting leeks and onions and topping up raised beds with Farm-made compost all important work for getting the new growing season off to the best possible start! 


If you have any questions or would like to get in touch about the Green, Grow, Cook and Go project, please email Lucy

Piccalilli Caff

Rotherhithe’s award winning café! 
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm for all day breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea


Yoga on the Farm

Community Yoga at the Farm. Find your inner yogi and feel great!  

Thursdays 6.30- 7.30pm: Release, restore, reenergise:
 a slower vinyasa flow style class with a focus on relaxation and longer holds in poses to increase flexibility. Perfect for beginners or those who take part in lots of physical activities such as cycling and running and need to strech out overworked muscles 

Thursdays 7.45-8.45pm: Power yoga. A fast flowing classes which will make you sweat. A focus on standing postures, arm balances and inversions.  Unwind by building strength and burning energy 

£6 a class, or book 4 for £20. 
Booking essential email: 
The Forge
Kevin Boys our resident blacksmith holds classes every Sunday from 10am -12pm
Tel: 07984416269

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