Gary Mitchell – Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens

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We met with Gary Mitchell at the 2017 Oxford Real Farming Conference, where he was promoting the Growing Together project, but mainly works at the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, which represents and supports such outfits across the UK. Their land “dating” service could be ideal for aspiring permaculture designers looking to create community oriented, land based projects in their own area. This service unfortunately is limited now to Wales and Scotland, but even if you’re in England and Northern Ireland, they would welcome your call.


Works for the Welsh office of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.

600+ members across the UK.

Around 30 city farms, and the rest some sort of community growing project. Most farms around one to few acres in size, with a few 60-70 acre projects (Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, some around London).

The idea for city farms came about in late 60s borne out of the loss of connection with the land that people in our modern cities experience.

Most local authorities own a number of holdings, some set aside for “practice grounds” for beginning farmers, some as development land, and often through community action they are transformed into city farms.

These farms get the land from the local authorities in various forms. It could be full ownership, where a land trust is formed, and the farm operates under that, or the land is leased, with a very small or no rent.

Grants for city farms and community gardens are less and less available, and you need to be enterprising and creative to bring all sorts of income.

Community Land Advisory Service – land “dating” service for Wales and Scotland. It used to work in England and Northern Ireland as well, but that has finished now as funding has stopped.

If you’re a permaculture practitioner / designer, and you want to create a land based, community project, we discussed the steps that the Service could walk you through, at least if you are in Wales.

All of that service is free to the clients.

Also have a look at the Growing Together project.




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