Preferred new home for Norwich Farmshare project falls through due to “unforeseen changes”
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015
Discussions are underway with the city council over the potential of setting up a new home for Norwich Farmshare at the Valpy Avenue allotments after their preference for a new home fell through due to 'unforeseen changes'.
As part of a feasibility study funded by a grant of £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund last year, the team had narrowed down its options to two 1.5 acre sites in the vicinity of the city.
But after a plot at Intwood Carr, in Cringleford was taken off the table by the landowner, other options are now being explored including the Valpy Avenue allotments.
In 2010 the group set up on a five- acre site at Postwick, but in 2015 was served notice by the owner of the land, who wanted to reclaim it.
The project stopped harvesting vegetables at the site near the Postwick Park and Ride in June 2016.
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During the transition period it has worked with local organic producers Eves Hill Veg Co, From the Earth, Hughes Organics and Arthur's Organics to provide fresh organic vegetables for members each week. It also has produce from a small plot farmed by one of the FarmShare growers.
As part of the feasibility study co-ordinator Rosalind Bacon wrote that the previous 7.5 acre site had been 'far too large for two part-time growers'.
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'We were unable to properly care for the soil, the plants or those involved,' she said. 'In contrast, at a new site we are wanting to start small, creating efficient, effective systems ensuring productivity, ecological care and avoiding burn-out.
'Depending on the size of the new site, FarmShare could look very different – a more educational focus and growing high-value perishable crops on a smaller site to a more traditional looking community-supported agriculture model on a larger site.'
Since the feasibility study ended, options have been explored including a larger off-site plot for field-scale growing.
The team say they are now 'in discussion' with Norwich City Council around Valpy Avenue.
In an update to members, they say: 'The site is highly accessible, with good soil and aspect, and various structures in place.
'The council can offer support in a variety of ways and FarmShare could work in partnership with other organisations on the site to offer additional educational sessions.'