Un concept est en train de renaître à Londres : les fermes urbaines. Le principe de ces fermes est que l’on peut venir y travailler en tant que bénévole. Ce système permet d’avoir une vie sociale plus enrichissante, de rencontrer ses voisins, de partager une passion que l’on a avec d’autres.
Urban farms began to appear in London at the end of the 90s. This type of farming is turned toward cities and uses resources, urban workforce, and wastes, thanks to composting for example.
This phenomenon is gaining more and more ground in London. All of its urban farms are gathered in a federation called the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG). This Federation helps city farms and community gardens by financing some of their projects, for instance.
There are two types of urban farms: city farms and community gardens. Their aims are practically identical but city farms are more turned toward animals, whereas community gardens are taking care of fruit and vegetables.
These farms are based on voluntary work but employees are also present in these organizations so it is a new way to find a job that did not exist twenty years ago.
People who work in these farms are looking for a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, and a break from the urban world. This is also a way to improve the local environment and the wildlife.
One of the main aims is to learn new skills: both adults and children want to learn more about agriculture. In fact, a lot of farms have partnerships with schools so that children can come and visit those farms. This concept improves community life because it helps people meet their neighbours. You can come as a visitor but you can work as well by taking part in the activities or taking care of animals.
This is also a source of money because they sell all the vegetables they produce at various markets. For instance, one of these farms is called Growing Communities (in Hackney) and it sells organic fruit and veg boxes.
This tendency is becoming increasingly important. In fact there is a festival called City Harvest Festival, which is organized every year in September.
Urban farms bring back the type of farming that used to be present in the old days, but is this just the latest fad or a sustainable “revolution”? By revolution, we can imply a return to the origins with the type of farming that people used to practice. We can also see a revolution as a break from all new types of intensive farming that are more and more present. I think that the two ideas are related and that, by getting involved in urban farms, people may want to protest against a new type of farming that they believe is harmful.