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Farm Newsletter - September 2016

Welcome to your September update from the Farm! It's been another busy and successful month here with our Harvest Festival, win at the London City Farm & Community Garden Show plus our AGM and Summer BBQ.
Capel Manor Show was a big success for the Farm this year! We competed against 10 other London city farms and many more community gardens. We were delighted to win the Horticulture Show and come a very close second in the Livestock Show. The green noticeboards outside the shop have been updated with all our rosettes and certificates, there are also lots of photos on the Farm facebook page

The annual Staff & Volunteer BBQ followed this year’s AGM. We announced the latest Jack Petchey Foundation winners - Natasha Basham, Emily Gadsdon and Kai Hersey. We also gave out two Southwark Stars certificates to Bob Delahoy and Josie Tapper. While Fay, our Livestock Worker was announced as this year’s Jack Petchey Foundation Leader Award Winner. Congratulations to you all!

The weather wasn’t on our side, but we still pulled off a fantastic Harvest Festival! Thanks to everyone who volunteered and visited despite the persistent light rain. We had a great time listening to the fantastic London Vegetable Orchestra who made instruments out of vegetables and played a range of animal-themed songs around the Farm!
Thanks to the chefs from Lusso who offered sausage making demonstrations using our meat and gave free samples to visitors.
We hosted a range of craft stalls in the yard, sold our Farm Produce jams, chutneys and led a range of children's fair games in the field. Photos can once again be found on our Farm facebook page.


It won't be long before we're inviting you back for our annual Christmas Fair, this year it will be held on 3rd December from 11am-4pm. We'll be selling Christmas trees as well as all the usual festive activities. Do make sure the date is in your diaries!

We have spent time outreaching with the older members of the community and are now running 'Elders Events' once a month from 1:30pm-3:30pm. The next session will be held on 14th November - join us to meet our animals, chat to volunteers and staff, socialise and find out more about how you can get involved at the Farm. Email Gemma for more information:


After a hot summer things have cooled down and love is in the air at the Farm! Our Oxford Down ram, Saxon, is in with the ewes and we have borrowed a Southdown ram to breed our smaller ewes.
The livestock team use 'tup paint' to tell which ewes have been covered, if you notice any yellow sheep on the farm that's why!
Disco Dylan (our boar) has gone to Stepney City Farm to breed with their sows and the piglets have reached 4 months old and are now separated into male and female pens.

The new muck heaps are working well and getting hot with all the decomposing going on. We recorded temperatures of 78 degrees in the centre, so have been cooling the heaps down with liquid from the biodigester!

We were pleased to welcome the Worshipful Company of Farmers' Master and Education Committee for a tour of the Farm. They were very impressed and full of praise for the Farm and enjoyed sampling some of our very own sausages for lunch. The Company has been supporting the Farm for many years, helping us with annual donations and providing invaluable links to other farms and suppliers in the industry.

As part of the Mayor’s Charity fundraising campaign we helped launch the Duckathon. The Duckathon is a sponsored swimathon that will be held at the end of October, with proceeds coming to the Farm and National Autistic Society. The Livestock team took some of our ducks to be involved in the launch - the ducks enjoyed posing and being cuddled the Mayor of Southwark and Jenny Agutter! If you'd like to do your bit and swim for the Farm find out how on the council's website.

Piecing Together Our Past

We've recently been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out an exciting new project focusing on the former Receiving Station on the Farm's site, which transported smallpox and fever patients to isolation hospitals downriver from 1883-1940. We will be piecing together the full story from archives, reassembling crockery fragments found on the foreshore, and researching the events of the Blitz which brought this to a dramatic end.

We need volunteers of all ages and abilities to help with the following:
  • Researching and compiling the full history of the Receiving Station, as well as events on the site during the Blitz. This will involve regular visits to libraries and archives. Suitable for adults of all ages, from students to senior citizens.
  • Piecing together the hundreds of crockery fragments from the Receiving Station that have been found on the farm’s foreshore, with the aim of reassembling a Metropolitan Asylums Board teaset. Suitable for adults, with accompanied children aged 8+ also welcome.
  • Monitoring the foreshore for further crockery fragments. Training will be provided; suitable for adults and families, ideally living locally.
No knowledge or experience is necessary - full training and guidance will be provided, and most activities will be done in small groups. There are also many opportunities for those with relevant skills and experience. Activities will be at flexible times, and you can participate as much or as little as you like. The project will run from October 2016 until September 2017.

Get in touch to join us or to find out more:
See the webpage for further details:

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 - It's been a busy month for the club members. They've enjoyed walking the ferrets, collecting eggs, harvesting their quinoa, growing and making colourful salads and have started working towards an AQA qualification. A highlight for the club was coming 2nd place in the home grown category at the Capel Manor show, with their guinea pig shaped bread. They baked this using wheat they grew on the Farm.

Young Farmers Club - The Young Farmers enjoyed showing our animals and taking part in the Young Handler event at the city farm show. They've been carrying out their usual animal care tasks and growing lots of vegetables, including some huge pumpkins and gourds!
The Club held a stall at the Harvest Festival and raised £100 for the Farm selling their own home-made cakes. They've also enjoyed collecting apples from the orchard and using the apple presser to make their own juice.

October half term - Our full day sessions for 8-13 year olds are already fully booked, however we have lots of spaces left for families and under 8's to come and get involved in our cooking workshops. We'll be making apple pies, baking harvest loafs and pumpkin bread. Booking is essential, please visit our website for full details.

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 students have been busy watering, harvesting and preparing winter crops. Katie, Michael and Paul attended the Capel Manor Show - taking a selection of fruit, vegetables, chutneys and displays to enter into the Horticulture Show.


Farm Produce
Preserving time is going well in Farm Produce. As we enter the new season the students have come up with lots of ideas and plans, including bread making and looking at ways to use pumpkins, nuts, medlars and other autumnal produce.

Monica has returned to Farm Produce, after a year with Plot to Shop and brings a new energy to the group on Wednesdays. We are still looking for a volunteer on Wednesday which would allow us to start on the wool natural dyeing project at the same time so if you have some spare time and are interested in learning new skills while having fun, do get in touch!

Farm Produce students were also responsible for the Capel Manor Show success! Their delicious 'Apple & Lemon Verbena Jelly' gained 1st place in the preserve category, while their decorated basket of eggs came 3rd.


New Leaf
September has been a busy and productive month for the students. Tony has picked his beans, yellow courgettes and tomatoes; weighing and packaging these to sell in the farm shop. Harry has also harvested his own tomatoes and courgettes. Earl has left the New Leaf group, his beds are still producing and he will be using these vegetables to cook with, as he still attends our Farm Produce group.

The New Leaf and Farm Produce group went to the Bede Harvest Show taking some of their produce and vegetables to enter into the competition. Congratulation to Harry, who gained 1st place for his vegetable plate; and to Andrew and Michael who gained 1st and 2nd places respectively for their tomatoes! 


Moo Crew & Cow Pat
Cow Pat group have been working hard with caring for the donkeys, Shetland pony and ducks. They link with Moo Crew group to take the donkeys for their Monday afternoon walk along the river.
Moo Crew have been working with the sheep and cleaning out their pen, while Jordan has been caring for the goats and keeping the pigeons out of their barn!


Green Grow Cook and Go!

The Saturday Drop-in Gardeners have been working hard to implement a new planting scheme adhering to the principals of permaculture along the Northern edge of the Farm. Over the coming sessions we need helpers to construct and plant a herb spiral, prepare the ground, plant a mulberry tree, strawberries, edible flowers and climbers.
Gardeners have also been planting seeds for winter crops and harvesting unusual and colourful squash, courgettes, kale, tomatoes and beans.
Everyone is welcome to get involved - simply pop along to the Farm on Saturday mornings 10am-1:30pm. No previous gardening experience is necessary!

The weekly sessions at Drummond Road Community Growing project have now come to an end. The community gardeners have been hard at work ensuring a healthy succession crop of kale, sprouts, cavelo nero, tomatoes, mixed salad leaves, pumpkin, courgettes, beans, turnips, carrots, mint and herbs. The garden is open for all to enjoy and use as a space to grow food, meet friends and learn about gardening. Special thanks to the tireless and enthusiastic help from Orange Lemon, GoodGym Southwark and Carillion this month for helping transform the central raised planter into a productive growing space for the community to use for cultivating food and flowers. 


We are running a series of workshops over the Autumn. Our Natural Dye Workshops are now fully booked for October and November but you can still get involved with the Folk Medicine Making Workshop: Syrup and Balms: October 29th, 13.30 - 16.30.
In this workshop with Forage Botanicals, you will learn how to make some natural provisions for colds and flu in preparation for the coming months. Natasha will guide you in making a syrup to help you through a cold, a balm to relieve chesty cough and an inhalation to clear blocked sinuses. The workshop will start with a short walk through the garden looking at the herbs to use in the syrup. Following this will be a remedy making session where Natasha will go through each herb and ingredients and their effects. Any hand outs will be emailed out after the workshops and you will take home with you everything you make. Book online:

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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