This major capital development project allowed the City Farm to give much better provision for educational groups – both children or adults – by providing shelter for gardening and craft activities. The ‘activity season’ is extended by enabling groups to happen whatever the weather in a variety of new and refurbished spaces.
The centre piece of the project, which was phased to take place into the spring of 2015, was the replacement of our old greenhouse, which had rotted away and was approaching a derelict state. The new greenhouse is larger than the old one and has more accessible staging in its work areas allowing a wider range of people to use the facility. Top greenhouse suppliers Gabriel Ash were engaged to produce the greenhouse, which arrived in Jan 2015.
An additional area of indoor space was provided through a 10 x 8m Keder House. This is a hybrid type of greenhouse that has the lightweight construction of a poly-tunnel and the rigidity of a greenhouse. The polycarbonate panels that make it up the structure are in their nature insulators, which helps to keep the space warm, even when the weather is bad. This space is fantastic for group teaching as well as providing valuable indoor crop space.
The third element of phase 1 of the project was to convert the area under the existing barn to have a sheltered indoor space and an outdoor kitchen. This serves both school groups as a gathering point and helps us to make the connection between growing good food and eating well. Trials we have run with growing and cooking projects have proven exceptionally popular for adults and children and really support the educational elements of our mission.
Also with the project was an improvement in the site access around the paths in the gardens and through provision of more raised beds on site. We improved the wildlife pond area by adding in a decking stage to give much better access to pond-dipping.