Friday, 7 September 2012

Down at the farm

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, September 1, 2012, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.




















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A big day out!
RICHARD THOMAS heads to … Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach. 
WHY? With the new school year about to start, what better way to finnish the summer holidays than with a trip to Wales’ only city farm.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach, Swansea is a community-led farm run by local people for the benefit of the wider community. The farm provides a fun location where people of all ages can learn about the environment, organic gardening and animal care. Activities held on the 3.5 acre site are run in a way that minimises any negative impact on the environment whilst helping to enhance local biodiversity and encourage nature conservation.
ANY HISTORY? The farm was conceived in 1992 but it wasn’t until 1998 that a suitable site was found for the city farm. The registered charity was setup to provide opportunities for local volunteers to develop new skills running the farm and to teach visitors about the environment. Volunteers of all ages and abilities have been instrumental in all stages of the farm’s development from the start: setting up a management committee, consulting with the community, planning the site layout and building site structures. In 2004 the front of site was landscaped to make the entrance more attractive, and in 2006 the workshop and animal house was built. The arrival of the first animals to the farm also brought a new interest from adults and children wanting to work with animals in a farm setting. Soon after a raised bed garden was constructed to provide opportunities for volunteers with mobility constraints to participate in farm activities. By the end of 2006 an apiary was constructed under the guidance of The West Glamorgan Beekeepers Association who also provided training for volunteers interested in learning about beekeeping. The farm now opens six days a week and have 200 child and youth members, 155 adult volunteers, over 50 animals, 10 trustees and nine members of staff.
WHAT TO TAKE? The farm depends on membership and donations. A years membership only costs £5. Bring a packed lunch with you and don’t forget to bring your camera.
LOOK OUT FOR? The 3.5 acre site consists of an office, workshop, animal house, cafe, wildlife pond, duck pond, allotments, orchard, apiary, paddocks, adventure play area, fire pit, compost demonstration area, raised beds, and picnic space. There’s also over 50 different animals to see, including sheep, pigs, chickens, rabbits and ducks.
WHEN TO GO? The Farm is open six days a week: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
TELL ME MORE: For sat nav usesrs the address and postcode is: 2 Pontarddulais Road, Fforestfach, Swansea, SA5 4BA. Phone 01792 578384 or go to www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk.
Richard Thomas's new book Sci-Fi Worlds is available from Amazon. Visit www.richardthomas.eu.

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