Words: Emily Carlill
Summer is here and it’s getting busy down at Kirkstall Valley Farm with the launch of their veg boxes, part of a new Harvest Share Membership scheme.
Kirkstall Valley Farm, part of Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT), is a Community Supported Agriculture working farm offering members of the community the opportunity to buy fresh food directly from their local farm.
In September 2019 Leeds City Council awarded KVDT the lease of this 16-acre area of overgrown farmland and, having spent 2020 restoring the site to a blank growing canvas, their first veg box shares will be launched in the coming weeks.
Roger Plumtree, Kirkstall Valley Farm manager, said:
“Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership between farmers and consumers; with the Harvest Share Membership scheme, once you purchase a ‘share’ of the farm you become a member. By becoming a member, you are supporting our local farm – be that through money, time, skills – and, in return, we provide good quality food for the whole season and look after the land.”
Head Grower, Rhian Williams, added:
“The volunteers and staff at the farm have worked so hard over the past few months to get the veggies ready for us to launch the scheme.
“It’s exciting to see it coming together and it will be great to see the farm as an embedded part of the community with members, not just getting vegetables, but feeling a connection with this local farmland, an understanding of how the food is grown, being part of the project, and knowing all their investment (be that time or money) is going back into the community.”
In addition to a weekly box of fresh seasonal produce throughout the year, members will have the opportunity to volunteer on the farm – helping to grow food, build up infrastructure, organise community events and look after wildlife, enjoy the open space to walk, have a picnic or play, attend events and meet like-minded people.
Adele Rae, general manager of Kirkstall Valley Development Trust, said:
“Kirkstall Valley Farm is a fantastic asset to KVDT and to the Kirkstall community. Operating as a CSA provides our local community with a supply of good quality fresh food and opportunities to connect with the land and people that grow it.
“Having the opportunity to understand where food comes from, learn how to grow vegetables and prepare healthy meals are essential skills for individuals, young and old, to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in a sustainable way – the farm along with other KVDT projects enable this.”
Sign up here to receive more information about the Harvest Share Membership scheme.
In addition to volunteering opportunities at the farm, there are various events that run weekly, during term time, including After School Club every Tuesday and Kirkstall Valley Explorer Tots every Thursday.
Also, keep an eye out for ‘Walk and Talk’ sessions that run regularly throughout the year where you can go along for a walk around the farm, take a look, ask questions and find out about everything that’s going on.