Farm managers monthly column

We’re excited that our Farm Manager, Helen Fisher has been invited to write a monthly column for Bath Echo, an independent news website for Bath. If you’re keen to learn more about Bath City Farm, what we do and our mission, keep a look out for Helen’s columns as she will be going into detail about life here on our community farm. To see the published article, click the link here and go to page 9. Otherwise you can read the full article below.

Please get in touch with any questions or suggestions for Helen’s next column.

All the best,

Bath City Farm

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There is something so satisfying when I’m the first to arrive at the farm and enjoy a quiet cup of tea. You get a real calmness before the start of another busy day with the sweet birdsong, the amazing view across our beautiful city and the busyness of the animals. It’s a feeling that I never get tired of and I feel a deep personal connection with this special place which has become part of my DNA.

As Bath City Farm celebrates its 25th anniversary as a charity this year it’s a good time for reflection. Life on the farm has changed beyond recognition in the 17 years I have been working here. What started out as a bold vision powered by the local community has grown from a single shipping container to a thriving place where communities coming together to do amazing things for the farm and each other.
It was thanks to the vision and passion of the local community that the Farm exists. This much-loved green space nestled between Southdown and Twerton means a lot to local people. It’s a place to bring your kids, somewhere to go for a walk or meet your friends for a coffee.

We now have a team of 16 staff and dozens of regular volunteers. They are at the beating heart of the farm and keep the place going whether working in the polytunnels to grow food for use in the café, mucking out the animals or regularly litter picking around the 37 acres. Whenever I spend time with the volunteers you get a real sense of the pride that they feel in caring for this place and how it’s become somewhere so important in their life.

Connecting people with life on the farm to help improve wellbeing is the core focus of what we do but our work is so much more and we also provide free access to this important outdoor space. It always makes me smile when I see one of our toddler groups feeding the hens or spending time with the goats, hearing the whoops of joy from the children.

Our Feathered Friends project is something I’m really proud of. This weekly get together provides older people living on their own or in residential care with the opportunity to spend time with our hens – from feeding them to enjoying some time cuddling them. Animal therapy maybe a relatively new concept but it works as the group sit in a circle each with a hen and broad grin chatting away to each other.

City Farms were originally set up to provide a link between people living in cities with food production as people moved away from a farming life. However, as we head into the 2020s the network of City and Community Farms across the UK are increasingly becoming spaces to support and nourish the most vulnerable in society. We rely on generous donations and grants to keep the place going and now run 10 targeted projects to help those most in need within our communities addressing complex issues such as social isolation, drug dependency, long-term unemployment and mental health issues.

Helen Fisher is the General Manager at Bath City Farm. You can keep up to date with life on the farm via social media on Facebook and Instagram and support the work at the farm via www.bathcityfarm.org.uk

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