Inner city regeneration lies at the core of Horton Community Farm – an inspirational project in the heart of Bradford
Horton Community Farm is located on the city’s Cecil Avenue allotments. Here just under a couple of acres of land is being transformed from underused, unloved and generally overgrown and vandalised into a thriving permaculture project for food growing and community resilience.
The aim is to supply locally grown, fresh fruit and veg at prices accessible to all the local community. The project has 5 strands of work; education, volunteering, wildlife, horticultural therapy and food growing. They aim aims to provide a hub for community activities and ventures such as composting, mentoring for food growing & tool use, gardening skills, healthy eating, a resource for education (school, youth and community groups) and volunteer opportunities. Another part of the project has mini-plots (in practice huge grow-bags!!!), currently a demonstration area which has been set up with young people, which people can for rent at a nominal cost and learn to grow their own food without the need to dig or take on a larger plot.
The ethos and commitment to the project has been recognised by financial support from a range of grant giving bodies including Big Lottery Local Food, Awards for all, Near Neighbours, Two 28, The Big Tree Plant and Royal Horticultural Society.
The project is a worker’s co-operative, where workers are also company directors. The project currently has 3 workers and hopes to attract new ones. Charlie Gray, the Community and Training Coordinator, currently manages planning and co-ordination of site activities to create a programme which attracts an amazing array of volunteers from within the local community. These range from experienced gardeners and growers giving of their time and expertise to people with mental health difficulties, local people who are unemployed and those wanting to contribute to their local community, asylum seekers and refugees and children and their families.
The project takes referrals onto a horticultural therapy program supporting newly arrived arrived asylum seekers and refugees to make friends and get involved in the community, and everyone works together growing food in the polytunnels and in the outdoors raised beds and therapy garden.
They also work with children and families through weekly forest school sessions for homeschoolers and are currently developing Bradford’s first inner city forest garden, planting the herbaceous and ground cover layers under the trees in their orchard.
The Cecil Avenue allotment site is around 5 acres in total area with 100 plots, but in the past only around 10% of the total site has been actively cultivated, meaning it was not only overgrown with weeds, brambles, undergrowth and native saplings, but problems with fly-tipping, vandalism, theft and drug use. All have noticeably improved as the site is being used more.
Horton Community Farm is an impressive project run by local people for local people. It is now established as a cooperative organisation, and registered as a limited company which operates as a social enterprise, and any profit is invested back into the project. Phase 2 of the project has been designed by volunteers and service users alike using Looby MacNamara’s Permaculture Design Web approach.
To understand more about Horton Community Farm click here to access the farm’s website.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]