Community farming project Norwich Farmshare look to future after securing new land

The successful FarmShare venture next to Postwick Park & Ride. Growers Rosalind Bacon, left, and Emm

The successful FarmShare venture next to Postwick Park & Ride. Growers Rosalind Bacon, left, and Emma Stopford harvest the tomatoes. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Crops could be grown from within the city for the community by this summer after sustainable farming project Norwich Farmshare settled on a new plot of land.

Since being turfed out of a plot they had held at Postwick Park and Ride for five years last May, the group have been living hand to mouth - buying from local producers to keep their distribution active.

After taking up an offer from Norwich City Council to pitch up on one acre of allotment land at Valpy Avenue, the group are now seeking extra funding to set up, and exploring options for a larger site.

'There were five different sites that made it through the initial criteria and at the end of December we decided on a site out at Cringleford on a couple of acres of land,' said grower Rosalind Bacon. 'It ticked a lot of our boxes and was very accessible. In December when we were about to tell the membership it was the chosen site it fell through at the last minute because the owners, having been told they couldn't get planning permission, found out they could.

'We went back to the drawing board. Valpy Avenue was initially discarded because it was too small for us to be financially viable on that site. It does have very good soil and it is very accessible, so it is perfect for education and community engagement.'


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The group looked at various plots across the site and found enough to settle on one acre of land. But having lost members since last May and with the problem of finances going forward, they are seeking additional funding and a larger site to complement the allotments.

'We could probably start growing there in a month but would not really be getting crops until June or July,' added Ms Bacon.

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'We have been buying in from a couple of local growers - we had the same system of distributing every Thursday where members come to the central hub.

'We have definitely lost members this year and I think part of that was due to not having a farm.

'It has been really hard but also amazing because all the things we wanted to do such as making ourselves more financially viable and planning out what we are doing, we haven't had time for that. This has given us the opportunity to focus on making it a more sustainable and viable community project.'

For more information visit norwichfarmshare.co.uk

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