Farm life: Feeling the effects of recent wet weather in Kirkstall Valley

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Kirkstall Valley Farm. Photo: Jenny Lawrence

By Rhian Williams

Down at Kirkstall Valley Farm, we’ve been feeling the effects of recent wet weather.

It’s been the wettest 18 months on record, and the land has been sodden. This means we are about six weeks late planting big crops like potatoes, onions and summer broccoli and cabbages – this could have an effect on how much we’re able to grow.

For us, these recent unpredictable weather patterns are a reminder of the effects that climate change is having right here in Leeds.

It strengthens our belief in growing food locally, to make sure that we all have secure access to it and are not dependent on long supply chains. It also reminds us that we need to farm in a way that looks after the environment – soil, water, wildlife, air – and doesn’t contribute to climate change, so that we can continue to grow food in the future.

Of course, Kirkstall Valley Farm is a small example of that! But, every little helps as they say, and we hope that our small project and what we’re learning from it can contribute to bigger changes and mean that more of the food in our shops, schools, hospitals and prisons comes from local farmers.

We currently have some spaces on our Community Supported Agriculture scheme – sign up now and you’ll be just in time for all the summer veg, including delicious tomatoes which are way tastier than supermarket ones!

Being part of the CSA means that you pay a regular contribution to support the farm – people who can afford to, pay a bit more, and people with lower incomes pay a bit less, creating solidarity across everyone.

Every week, you come to the farm and collect your “share” of what we’ve harvested from the fields that day – it will be fresh, delicious and changes with the seasons. Your support means we can run lots of volunteer sessions, look after the land and wildlife in environmentally friendly ways, and develop powerful, caring community in Kirkstall.

It’s been great to see so many people volunteering at the farm in all sorts of ways. Some people have been coming every week since spring 2020, others have joined us recently, and lots of people pop down to session every now and then when they can make it.

Over the last few weeks, teams of volunteers have moved lots of compost to where it’s needed, learnt to graft fruit trees, built a kitchen area, and harvested veg (amongst other things!).

We always welcome new volunteers, to find out more, email Jen (kvf.admin@kvdt.org.uk) or visit our website.

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