Community farm in Dorset wants to grow!
Shaftesbury Home Grown, often referred to as ‘the Community Farm’, was established on a small site off Breach Lane in 2009. For more than 10 years membership has been open to local people for producing food naturally and sustainably by working together rather than have the hassle of running an allotment all on their own. Currently, members grow fruit and vegetables and keep chickens and bees, getting a discount on produce taken. A review of past experience, the boost in activity at the farm during the pandemic, and national concerns about food security, led the group to decide to explore using the land more effectively and playing a larger part in Shaftesbury’s community.
The exploration will include ways for more people to become involved in food production and will also open up opportunities for land-based projects to run alongside the farm’s core activities. There is already an arrangement with Shaftesbury’s Tree Group who will develop a tree nursery for the town, and with a local shepherd who grazes sheep on part of the land. Other potential projects could be courses – for example: hedge-laying or permaculture, growing plants and flowers for sale, a separate dye garden, additional livestock, therapeutic gardening, children’s activities, and more.
The group is inviting anyone who might like to be part of the farm’s future to get in touch by email so that alternative possibilities can be included in dicussions over winter 2020.