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Feasibility Stage 1 Report

Click here for the full report from the first stage of the Feasibility Study, written by Rosalind Bacon, looking for new land for FarmShare. It details what we’ve been up to over the past months and contains information on and feedback from the Community Consultation meeting in August – summarised below.

We are now excited to commence Stage 2 of the study, taking the five sites that successfully met many of the criteria we’re looking for and conducting further in-depth analysis (i.e. soil testing, planning permissions) and design.

These sites are:
– Park House, Wroxham Road
– Community Greenhouses, Sprowston Community Hub
– Valpy Avenue Allotments
– Eastern & Otley College
– Jan Howard’s land in Cringleford

Input throughout this process is really encouraged, please contact Rosalind or Emma to discuss feedback or for more information. We will be sharing our progress through further newsletters. We are particularly inviting feedback about accessibility to the site. See our recent newsletter for details if you would like to contribute to this.

A Great Gathering of Farmshare Minds! Our first consultation meeting
Thank you to everyone who was able to come along and contribute to our first Community Consultation meeting as part of our wider Site Feasibility Study. Approximately 50 people attended including a local permaculture course which gave us an international perspective – wider than those of the borders of Norwich! Thank you too to all who brought food (we enjoyed it very much!) and helped on the night.

A bit of background
To update those of you not there, the study commenced in June 2016 and is predicted to take around 6 months in total, split into 3 stages, with the aim to move to a new site by early 2017. Community consultation work is ongoing throughout the study, with two key consultation events in August and November. We are currently at the end of Stage 1 (amassing land offers) and entering Stage 2, assessing sites using our criteria.

What we did on the night
A summary of activities and key discussion points follows – Click here for a more detailed report.

  • Discussed key considerations – size, accessibility and planning permission/infrastructure and their implications
  • Gave feedback on the weighting of and any additional criteria
  • Discussed and put forward suggestions for our key challenges
  • (..oh and we ate soup, drank tea and ate plenty of cake!)

Main points of interest

  • Could Farmshare adopt a Patchwork Farm approach, on multiple sites?
  • To what extent do members support buy-in from local producers? What are valued vegetables? Polytunnels were viewed as very important.
  • There was interest in educational opportunities – how feasible is this?
  • What is the maximum distance people will travel – are transport links more important than distance to travel?
  • A fair amount of interest in camping weekends (if a site further away) to have farm working gatherings
  • Consensus that a volunteer shelter is essential
  • A desire for a beautiful, welcoming site!

What’s next
The meeting enabled us to come together and through discussion explore the different considerations and their relative importance. We also thought about what we could do together to solve some of the challenges. We anticipate the next Community Consultation meeting will be in December – we’ll keep you posted!

Claire Gebbett
On behalf of Norwich FarmShare | A growing community

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