Dagenham Farm is part of Growing Communities (GC’s) wider vision of how we create a more sustainable, resilient food system to feed our cities. In a report commissioned by GC it was calculated that around 17 percent of a citiy’s food could be produced from a city’s outer limits- the peri-urban zone. This type of production would decrease pollution through cutting down on transportation/ refrigeration and would enable further food resilience for cities.
Alice took on Dagenham farm in 2012 as the first trial farm for GC within this zone. There are many challenges in applying the theory to practice. What is a viable scale where land is scarcer? Is it possible to feel enough security on a prime urban piece of land that you do not own? Given the intensive history of land use how can we assess contamination and protect against pollution? Can a healthy balanced and biodiverse farming system exist in the midst of a suburban context? Such issues ultimately pose the question of whether it makes sense to farm at all within the city fringe. Two years in, after many challenges, Alice will talk about the journey, trials and successes of this unusual farm.