Digging deep to open city farm at Cowley school

City farm campaigner Lucie Mayer with her children Anna and Luca Beekmayer

City farm campaigner Lucie Mayer with her children Anna and Luca Beekmayer Buy this photo

First published in News

PART of an Oxford school could soon be turned into a community farm.

A group of residents is hoping to start up a “city farm” on land belonging to St Gregory the Great School in Cricket Road, Cowley, to help educate people about where food comes from.

They have now announced where the farm could go after keeping it under wraps while negotiations took place.

On Saturday a blackberry-picking event was held in Florence Park to help promote the cause and get people on board.

Florence Park resident Lucie Mayer, 40, is one of the residents hoping to get the farm up and running.

She said: “We will probably get sheep and goats, chickens and ducks.

“We have got this picture of the animals in the middle but then all the way around the edge there will be things growing.

“Blackberry picking on site illustrates the abundance of local seasonal food available. We hope to make jam to sell at our events to raise money for the farm.

“People can come and understand where their food comes from but also got involved and produce their food. We want to have a cafe as well.

“There has been a lot of support for the idea from local people and there are lots of ways people can get involved.

“With so many schools in the area and a lot of care homes as well it could be a real intergenerational project.”

A lease is currently being negotiated with Oxfordshire County Council , which runs St Gregory, but it may be held back as the Catholic school looks into becoming an academy.

The project will be funded by grants and donations but most of the produce will also be sold to keep the farm going. A number of fundraising events are being planned. Planning permission, which has not yet been applied for, will also be required and a flood assessment will have to be carried out.

Related links

Once the city farm gets off the ground, it will become one of the 120 other such projects around the country.

  • To get involved in the Oxford City Farm project, visit oxfordcityfarm.org.uk

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