The importance of urban farms…

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Today myself, Dan, along with my sister and nephew, went to Graves Park for the day. They’d been to see us in Sheffield and we wanted to take them out of the city so we could enjoy the sun – plus we knew the petting farm was there, which is perfect for any inquisitive 6 year old boy.

After a picnic and look around the fairground, we went and had a look around the farm. It’s totally free to go in, and they have everything from the standard sheep, pigs and chickens, to donkeys, llamas and plenty of playful goats.

What I realised when we were walking around the park, was that this greenery and number of animals is pretty normal to me, Dan and my sister. We all grew up in rural areas, my nephew is growing up in a village surrounded by moorland now. Dan spent time on farms growing up – as did I, plus we had a chicken farm at the back of our house and some llamas in the village which we’d dare each other to walk past. Farming to us was and is normal – but for many inner-city kids, it isn’t.

What we forget is that the connection between animals and food is somewhat lost for some inner city kids (Sheffield being an exception). There’s no green, no sheep, no cows and no crops. They never really understand where the food on their plate comes from – and to truly appreciate what we eat, we need to understand it’s source. Well, I think so anyway.

Schools are investing in programmes to put a stop to this. From growing crops on school grounds, to visits out of the city to find out how food is made – personally I think this is essential in developing better diets of the future to tackle obesity and diabetes.

Graves Park farm is just one example of how schools and communities can bring nature, and conversations around produce, in to the city. Plus it’s a great day out. I’m to sure who funds it – however the fact that it exists, alongside other urban farms in the city, is a testament to our beloved Sheffield.

Until tomorrow
Hayley Jayne xx

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