During mid November last year I had the pleasure of visiting Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, formally ‘The Shared Earth Trust’. Whilst I have visited the site several times before, as always with community organisations things change at a rapid pace. Whilst taking in a broad overall understanding of what the farm offers; short courses on all things environmental, sustainable land use, eco camping, sustainable waste water treatment, Wildlife Where you Live project, woodland courses and many more, I was there to view and advise on two key areas, their community garden and the coming together of their investment and hard work in their sustainable accommodation building project.
I’m sure some will question what does the Fed know about accommodation sustainable building projects? Well as always with the Federation our staff and fieldworkers have many interesting and varied backgrounds. For three years I was assistant manager of the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre where I gained an insight in to the world of sustainability, conservation and education. Following on from that role I took on the management of an Outdoor Education Centre, accommodating up to 42 people, in the Beacons which I ran for over 7 years.
I’m pleased to say that the building is looking really impressive and the project is being well managed by staff at the farm. The completed building will be truly environmentally friendly, but also goes that extra mile to act as an educational / learning tool to others. There are panels incorporated in to the exterior that allow an instant view of the building materials and methods used. The biomass boiler also has a viewing panel and the reedbed water treatment system is well documented. Whilst there we discussed the flexible nature of the way the building can be occupied – the separate units can be opened up to provide one, two or three accommodation blocks. The furnishings will all be from sustainable resources and they will be partly heated by woodburners, using local timber.
The community garden is set to have a full makeover thanks to funding through the Wildlife Where You Live project and whilst walking round their current community garden we were able to discuss a whole host of issues that face community gardens and discuss ways of overcoming some of these.
As you will see Denmark Farm Conservation Centre has some impressive facilities, enthusiastic staff and is set in a beautiful location. I certainly hope to hold one of my future regional gatherings or training events here in the near future. Keep your eyes on our events / what’s on section.
Whilst Denmark farm are not currently a formal member of the Federation they are able to benefit from our services in Wales, and from accessing these services I know they are considering the benefits of becoming a member.
Mid Wales Development Worker
Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens