What is a City Farm ?
City Farms come in all shapes and sizes from small scale operations focusing on fruit and vegetable production to larger scale facilities featuring both fruit and vegetable production and a variety of farm animals. Some are commercial ventures, located in or near urban areas, producing food for sale to nearby communities. Others have a different focus, using the various elements of the farm to provide a variety of educational and community engagement opportunities.
The proposed city farm in Ballymun falls in to the latter category. The city farm will be a community educational and recreational space, creating opportunities for learning and engagement for people of all abilities and backgrounds, focusing on environmental issues, organic food production, native rare breed animal conservation and the promotion of traditional and related crafts.
In addition to being a community resource and a visitor centre focusing on education and community engagement, it is intended that the farm will also provide for a farmers market and opportunities for food producers, farmers, small holders etc. to sell directly to consumers via the City Farm.
City/Urban Farms are a growing phenomena in many large cities across the globe and are an increasingly important element in the ‘green infrastructure’ of large urban areas. The value of green infrastructure has been acknowledged by Dublin City Council:
Implementing green infrastructure features in urban areas creates a greater sense of community, strengthens the link with voluntary actions undertaken by civil society, and helps combat social exclusion and isolation. They benefit the individual and the community physically, psychologically, emotionally and socio-economically. Green infrastructure creates opportunities to connect urban areas and provides appealing places in which to live and work. Through urban food production and community gardens, which are efficient tools to educate schoolchildren and engage the interest of young people in particular, it addresses the disconnect between production and consumption of food and helps increase its perceived value. Investments in green infrastructure have significant potential to strengthen regional and urban development, including the creation of jobs. (Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022)
For a better idea of what community focused city farms can offer check out the following links:
Kentish town City Farm