Thank you all so much for helping us beat our target. Of course, the Farm costs way more than £15,000 to operate, but that felt like an achievable amount for this campaign. Now we've met it we are going to keep on going, with a new target of £25,000. The extra money raised will all go towards opening costs: the staff and stuff we need to remain open to the public and free to visit.
Why we need your help
Stepney City Farm welcomes over 30,000 visitors a year. People of all ages visit to get a breath of fresh air, feed the farm animals, tend their allotment or chat to neighbours over delicious local food in our café. If even half of our visitors in one year gave a pound we'd meet our target.
Of course, not all of our visitors can afford to. The Farm is in one of the poorest areas in the UK with the fourth highest rate of child poverty. It's vital that the Farm remains free to visit and open six days a week. So we're asking our supporters, and anyone who has visited, or plans to visit our beautiful farm, for a little bit of money to help us keep going.
Generous donors have given for our work with local schools, but this can't be used for general running costs. The money we raise here will be supplemented by other donations and income from our café and shop to pay for core staff as well as boring things like loo paper and soap – the essential every day stuff we need to open to the public.
About the Farm
Stepney City Farm in London’s East End is a working farm, Rural Arts Centre and community meeting place. We give children and adults a chance to meet farm animals, learn how to grow food and try out arts and crafts.
Residents in London’s East End got together in 1979 to set up a community farm here on a derelict site bombed in World War II. By 2009 the site fell into disrepair and faced closure. A new charity – Stepney City Farm – made up of local residents who tirelessly volunteered their time, effort and creativity. Work by people from all ages and backgrounds has brought about an increase in the number of paid staff who have in turn been able to generate change through their leadership and skill. We’re able to stay open for free six days a week. Although we still depend on funding – which keeps us going for only a couple of years at a time – these days the Farm is much more stable and last year we signed a 10 year lease with Tower Hamlets Council.
What we do
Children and Young People
Over the last three years we've worked with almost every school in the area, welcoming students for work placements, bringing whole classes in for out-of-the-classroom learning and working on special projects like the greenhouse made from plastic bottles you can see in one of our fields. Cambridge Heath Special Needs 6th Form come every week, as do a team of teenage young volunteers.
Local Food and Farming
We have 64 allotments at the farm as well as community growing spaces. Having exhausted all of our own space, over the last two years we've helped community groups set up their own food growing areas. There are new raised beds to grow fruit and vegetables around the borough, including at a hospital with the Specialist Addiction Unit at Mile End, the Idea Store at Whitechapel, Hawthorn Green Care Home, Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, and the sheltered housing for older people at the Mosque Tower.
We raise animals and crops which are sold in our farm shop and café. In our little farm we're not able to grow enough to feed demand for local produce, so we also host a farmers' market providing food from within 100 miles of Stepney.
Volunteering and Training
We help all sorts of people get in touch with their inner farmer. Whether its an office worker wanting to muck out pigs at weekends, as a healthy alternative to the gym, or someone out of work with ill mental or physical health wanting a bit of therapeutic horticulture, we welcome everyone to volunteer at the Farm. We provide training too, so we're popular with young people wanting a career in animal care as well as those who've been out of work for a while, who need some work experience and some help with their CV.
You can see Stepney City Farm does lots of great stuff. We'd really like to continue and so if you've been, or plan to visit, and think the Farm should remain open and free for all to visit, please donate what you can – and of course receive some outstanding, generously donated rewards for doing so. Like these: