Fundraising campaign saves threatened city farm

Stepney City Farm. Pic: Chodhound

Stepney City Farm. Pic: Chodhound

A city farm established over 30 years ago is set to remain open to the public after it managed to secure enough funding to stay open for the rest of the year.

Stepney City Farm surpassed its target of raising £15,000 — just five weeks into its two-month fundraising campaign, which started in January.

The campaign appealed for donations through a crowd-funding website and saw nearly 200 backers raise a total of £19,000.

On January 24 the farm had only raised half of its target.

But Jessica Hodge, the farm’s director said that “an unnamed company pledged a significant amount” on January 31.

The farm, which was first set up in 1979, is open six days a week and requires about £300,000 to run every year. It was predicted that funds were likely to run out by April of this year.

According to Paul Woodmin, the farm’s food enterprise manager, the money will be used to pay for “core staff as well as boring things like loo paper and soap – the essential everyday stuff we need to open to the public.”

Despite the success of the campaign, the farm is now studying more ways to be sustainable.

Hodge said: “For the next year, we definitely will be staying open, but our costs are never going to go away and so we will continue to look at innovative ways of raising funds.”

About 30,000 people visit the farm every year, which is open to the public for free.

Other than the chance to meet farm animals, visitors can also learn to grow food and try their hand at arts and crafts.

Woodmin said: “[The farm] provides a breathing space for local residents; it’s an educational space [and provides] opportunities to learn new skills. It offers a kind of respite from the madness of London living.”


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