Volunteering at Spitalfields City Farm
I started volunteering at Spitalfields City Farm in November last year after I met the volunteer co-ordinator, Michelle, at my university during a volunteer fair. On the farm she introduced me to Rossana who was looking for someone to help organise events and work in the new café. I have always enjoyed volunteering at the farm and I am very sad to be leaving at the beginning of next month. But this means a new opportunity for another volunteer!
Spitalfields City Farm is one of many city farms in London. This hidden oasis just off Brick Lane is home to many different rare animals – such as Bentley, Bramble and Demeter, the Golden Guernsey goats – and it boasts a huge variety of green. Volunteers and members of the local community maintain these gardens so that on several days of the week various types of vegetables can be sold. The garden and the animals also have an educational purpose: the farm is a great outdoor classroom and a place where the community comes together.
Spitalfields City Farm organises at least one event each month. Some of these take place for national holidays (The Christmas Fayre, Easter Sunday) while others are farm related (Donkey Day, Fascination of Plants Day). My tasks at these events ranged from helping out with the planning and setting up of all that was needed, selling teas and coffees in the café, and helping the visitors make their way around the farm. On other days I worked in the office helping out with the preparation of big events such as the Chili Festival taking place in September.
I feel Spitalfields City Farm is a very inspiring place to be; both staff and volunteers are always actively thinking of ideas for events, fairs and clubs that the farm could be providing for the community. “It is a great place for people to develop ideas,” Rossana believes – and the amazing thing is that she also gave me the chance to do so.
Now that I am returning to the Netherlands, Rossana (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7247 8762) is looking for a new volunteer to help her out in the café, especially with the summer coming up. On June 8th the Summer Market will be re-launched, with the café open on Saturdays and Sundays until September 28th, and the market itself open every Sunday. The new volunteer will be working on weekends for about 5 hours a day, and will get the opportunity to develop event management and barista skills, whilst being at the heart of an important community event throughout the summer.
I wish I could continue volunteering at Spitalfields City Farm for longer, but I will definitely be back to visit during the Chili Festival in September – this amazing Festival of Heat cannot be missed!