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CoFarm celebrates third anniversary on World Food Day





World Food Day coincided with CoFarm’s third anniversary on Sunday and the urban farm collective celebrated the harvest for good measure.

World Food Day at CoFarm. Picture: Keith Heppell
World Food Day at CoFarm. Picture: Keith Heppell

From mid-afternoon until early evening visitors and some of the hundreds of volunteers who have made the farm off Barnwell Road such a success toured the site and enjoyed a community feast. Gazebos hosted by Sodexo and Cambridge Sustainable Food added to the positive atmosphere, with drinks, cakes and a buffet available to guests.

Gavin Shelton, who set up CoFarm in 2019, thanked those who attended.

Speaking on a bale of straw, he told those assembled on the farm: “World Food Day is all about food and farming and growing all over the world, and this is CoFarm’s third birthday and also a good opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us, our food hub volunteers and CoFarmers and partners – this is about saying thank you to them.

Founder Gavin Shelton speaking at CoFarm’s 30th anniversary on World Food Day. Picture: Mike Scialom
Founder Gavin Shelton speaking at CoFarm’s 30th anniversary on World Food Day. Picture: Mike Scialom

“From a CoFarm perspective we’ve had 360 people who’ve put in 10,000 hours of love, care and attention going into the farm and of course an enormous number of people to thank in all the food hubs we work with, to Cambridge Sustainable Food as a network and a partnership.

“The positive effect of all those concerned with making Cambridge a gold food city – we’re silver at the moment – and all these things help us not just with the award, but all the things that happen after the award for the community.

“We’ve harvested about 20 tonnes of produce since we started, and we’ve had so many contributions to help us get where we are, including Pete and Dom who head all the growing activity, and Nicky, Claire, Rachel and all the colleagues from Abbey People who have been great to work with. Food has never been more important, so thank you very much for being here.”

Thanks were also extended to Sodexo, a French food services and facilities management company, who contributed to the event as part of its Stop Hunger initiatives. The hospitality was fronted by volunteers from AstraZeneca.

Three tonnes of food was harvested on the Cambridge urban farm this year.

Dom Walsh, CoFarm horticultural lead, with guests at the CoFarm site. Picture: Mike Scialom
Dom Walsh, CoFarm horticultural lead, with guests at the CoFarm site. Picture: Mike Scialom

Dom Walsh, CoFarm horticultural lead, admitted there have been challenges.

“A lot of the flowers wed planted died over the summer from lack of water,” Dom said at the farm. “We had to water crops by hand, and some of the pumpkins we harvested were small.

“The conditions were difficult – for a while there were 12 teenage magpies bashing at the sweetcorn to try and get the water it contained. Pests have been off the scale this year because the balance of predator and prey had been tipped out of balance. We’ve done really well given the conditions.”

At CoFarm on World Food Day are, from left, Greg Blackman, Rishi Mouland, Marc Sabates, Pete Fenton and Alice Field, with front from left Sally Mouland and Suzanne Burbridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
At CoFarm on World Food Day are, from left, Greg Blackman, Rishi Mouland, Marc Sabates, Pete Fenton and Alice Field, with front from left Sally Mouland and Suzanne Burbridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge Sustainable Food’s programme to ensure Cambridge achieves gold food status – continues on Saturday with the Food For the Planet Festival at The Museum of Technology on Riverside.

The free event, from 11am to 6pm, includes activities including apple pressing, pumpkin carving, disco soup, film showings and a Healthy Soil Healthy Food event with Carbon Neutral Cambridge and Six Inches of Soil.

The family-friendly event brings together local farmers and growers from 4pm onwards.



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