EU Green Capital Bristol digs in to urban agriculture
As ever more people settle in urban centres, the question of how best to produce high quality and sustainable food is one of increasing urgence. A solution that is slowly gaining in popularity is bringing food production into cities. European Green Capital 2015 Bristol (UK) is focussing on food as a key area during its year-long tenure. The city has a range of popular urban agriculture projects, which take different approaches to farming in the city.
The Severn Project is a flagship programme which trains recovering drug addicts in organic farming methods. It is environmentally sustainable, focussing on seasonal organic produce and short supply chains, and also has a strong social focus. St Werburghs City Farm also works with vulnerable citizens, providing work and training for adults with learning and physical disabilities. Other city farms include the co-operative Sims Hill Shared Harvest, the member-run Community Farm and Feed Bristol, where volunteers and schoolchildren receive fruit and vegetables in return for their help growing them.
These farms aren’t just socially innovative, they show that small-scale agriculture in an urban context can be a serious option. St Werburghs’s land measures 1.8 acres (78,408 square feet) and the Severn Project even less. “Small farms are more productive than large ones because they make the most of their space”, says Jess Clynewood, Horticultural Manager at St Werburghs. “This is the way forward, but it requires a paradigm shift.”