Comment - Local Stuff
Forty Hall Farm by Kate McGeevor
Farm manager and EGP member Kate McGeevor writes: The farm
is a 160 acre organic farm, situated next to Forty Hall. It is run by
Capel Manor College, which is committed to making the Farm a
showcase for sustainable local food production.
There is already much to celebrate at the Farm. Since 2009, it has
been home to the Forty Hall Community Vineyard, an awardwinning
social enterprise that is run almost entirely by volunteers. It
is funded by the National Lottery and teaches volunteers about
wine-growing and horticulture. At full production, the Vineyard
will be producing 13,000 bottles of wine per year and we are on
track for our first harvest in 2013.
As well as working with regular volunteers, over 180 vulnerable
adults from deprived communities in Enfield (including some with
mental health support needs and adults with learning difficulties)
have been involved in the vineyard through our horticultural
therapy project 'Fine @ the Vine Project'.
More recently, the Farm has launched a new orchard project, aimed
at re-establishing the Forty Hall Estate's historic orchard. The
project, which has been led by local volunteers, has led to the
planting of over 140 heritage fruit trees. The Orchard Group has
won four grants to carry out its work and members regularly attend
local events to promote the project. The members intend to become
a co-operative in 2013 and hope to be producing fruit juice and cider
over the coming years.
In December 2012, we were delighted to be awarded a new grant to
establish a forest garden on the Farm. Based on permaculture
principles, a forest garden is a carefully designed woodland
ecosystem that mimics the different layers found in natural forests.
Crops include fruits, nuts, edible leaves, spices, medicinal plants
and materials for woodland crafts. They are valuable educational
spaces because they serve as living examples of the many varied
useful products of trees and woodlands. When completed, the new
Forty Forest Garden will be London's largest forest garden.
Work is also underway to establish a market garden on the Farm,
which will provide organic fruit and vegetables for a new vegetable
box scheme, as well as increasing the horticultural therapy offered
at the Farm. The scheme is part of a new project being run in
conjunction with the London Borough of Enfield, aimed at
promoting community food growing.
As well as these specific projects, we have been increasingly
working with our local community to organise events and to open
the Farm for public visits. We regularly host school trips and in June
2012 we held a Big Jubilee Lunch, featuring local bands and
attended by over 900 local residents - something we hope to repeat
in 2013. We also held our first Apple Day and a Yuletide
Celebration, featuring the wonderful Hackney Secular Singers, in
The Farm is not open to the public yet but we are developing a selfguided
farm trail and hope to be open by summer 2013. In the
meantime, there are countless opportunities to get involved in the
exciting projects underway at the Farm. Our next big event will be
our Lambing Open Days, on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March
2013. Why not come along and see for yourself what we're up to?
Alternatively, visit our website
or contact me directly on
if you'd like to know more.
First published in the EGP members newsletter, February 2013