Oxford City farm welcomes Rose Hill residents

Recently, I was invited to Oxford City farm. A farm in the City?

For those who haven’t been to OCF, it’s hidden away off the Iffley Road, as you turn into Cornwallis Rd, just before the Isis care home. Take a walk down through the carpark and you will come across a gated entrance.

When you enter the green gates you will see a compost toilet outbuilding to your left, a chicken coop in front of you, and to your right a wonderful building containing a fully functioning kitchen and teaching space, which was fundraised for back in 2020, where the public crowd-funded £40,000!

Emma Hood, the farms project worker, met me and showed me around the different spaces. We walked through the vegetable and fruit patches, discussing how this year hasn’t been as fruitful in terms of produce compared to previous years, that’s certainly been the case for the blackberries in my garden, which usually take over. The squash and pumpkins were looking good, which is great news for those wanting to visit the farm in the Autumn, as part of the events for the Oxfordshire Pumpkin festival.

When you walk past the veg patches you will come to a children’s wooden playhouse. Emma explained how they’re developing the space to welcome more families and children, and how they are reaching out to the community to help with maintenance jobs, carpentry projects and general upkeep. Understandably, parts of the farm need TLC and are overgrown, and Emma is eager to welcome people to help trim the grass and maintain the flower beds. It’s been difficult due to the pandemic, with self-isolations and lockdowns, but the staff have done a great job of keeping the farm running!

We then explored the polytunnels/greenhouses, where some fabulous cucumbers were growing! We then walked around behind the polytunnels to the orchard space. We reached the fruit trees where red apples and juicy pears hang from rows of trees, ready to be picked.

We then carry on the tour and reach the wildlife pond, a fenced off beautiful and peaceful sanctuary where you can forget all of your worries and switch off, with benches installed around the circular pond for quiet reflection, enclosed by bushes, trees and plants.

Past the pond takes you to the bee hives, whilst you can’t see directly into them for safety reasons, just look up and you will see them flying around. Emma explains how the bees created a hive in a nearby tree and what a wonderous sight that was. The farm also collects the honey from its bee’s to sell on site.

OCF also has some animals on site, last year they welcomed three sheep who are cared for by the staff. The farm also has chickens, who occasionally roam around freely (and sometimes cheekily peck at the salad plants). For me, being surrounded by animals is calming, and to have some at OCF, and so close to Rose Hill, I think we’re very lucky!

OCF has a brilliant outdoor shelter with an outdoor kitchen prep area attached. It’s a space where you can still enjoy the farm even if it’s a bit drizzly, where you can enjoy a freshly cooked lunch or a cup of tea and cake, whilst doing a bit of art, reading a book or just sitting and enjoying the view.

Whilst I’m there, families have been at the farm cooking in the kitchen and playing outside. They all gather to eat what they have made under the shelter, sitting together and enjoying their company and it’s a nice sight to see. The pandemic has effected everyone in different ways. Families have been stuck inside for a long time, so seeing people gather safely together and have fun is so lovely and refreshing.

I really enjoyed my time at the farm and left feeling happy, I would love if you also checked out the space!

General Farm drop-in sessions are on the  2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month from 25th Sept, 12.30pm-2.30pm. Just pop down for as long as you like.

Emma also discussed how OCF have recently received funding to work specifically with Rose Hill adults and families. Adults who wish to meet new people, help out with jobs and learn some new skills like cooking for free, can book sessions starting from Tuesday 28th September, 10am-2pm every Tuesday.

Just email Emma at: emmahood@oxfordcityfarm.org or call: 07483363199.

I also filmed a short video tour of the farm, so you can check it out before you come: