Friday, 19 November 2010

Church Farm, Ardeley's 'More than a Box' Scheme

There’s a farm called Misery, but of that we’ll have none
Because we know of one
That’s always lots of fun (Ha ha!)
And this one’s name is Jollity; believe me, folks, it’s great
For everything sings out to us as we go through the gate

All the little pigs, they grunt and howl etc, etc


Yes indeed, Church Farm is a jolly farm.  If you visit, you will meet the farm you once knew from childhood stories and games.  Animals graze on fields planted with a well tried mix of grasses and flowers, creating a rich mosaic of colour and textures.  Glancing through a hedge to the field next door, the contrast is striking: all there is to see is the uniform expanse of an industrial monoculture.

The farm covers 175 acres which includes 30 acres of woods, 10 acres of orchard, and 2 acres of nesting grounds.  There are around 150 sheep, cows and pigs, and the farm, which is also a family business, prides itself on its long tradition of rearing rare breeds.  The number of poulty is in the thousands, but here again the hens and turkeys are allowed to range freely in designated places such as the orchard. One of the delights of the farm is the piglets, who can be seen playing and scrapping with each other in the feeding area. As the visitors leave, the hope is that they will have been reminded of the very real connection between land and food.

In the meantime, there is a farm called Misery.  It hasn't been built yet but the planning permission for Nocton 'Mega Dairy' in Lincolnshire was passed yesterday, with the concession that they will have 3,770 cows instead of the 8,100 of the original proposal. These cows will rarely see a blade of grass. The intensive system leaves them open to many health problems, including lameness, mastitis and bacterial infections.They will be expected to produce 10,000 or more litres of milk each per year.  In energy terms, that is the same as a human being running a half marathon every day for ten months of the year.

Compassion in World Farming are running a campaign to raise awareness of this first attempt at industrial farming and you can contact them on the address below.  But you can also choose to source your food from a place whose aim is to 'treat the land, wildlife and animals, as they should be treated, and grow great food'. 

You can find out more about the Church Farm and Crouch End box scheme by popping into the Haberdashery, Middle Lane on Thursday between 5.30 and 7pm.

For more information on the Church Farm Box Scheme:

For more information on the Nocton Dairies:
The lyrics are from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.


  1. This industrial dairy scheme proposal is just the start. This is being backed by govenment ministers and the National Farmers Union. They see it as the way to make dairy farming economically viable.

    It is part of the agenda that thinks food should be cheap. Never mind aninmal welfare or the environment and forget considerations of real quality.

    Get wise. If you want good food source it from someone you trust, who happily invites you on to their farm to see all that goes on there.

    If you want cheap food then stick to foraging.

  2. agreed.
    if you're going to eat an animal, at least give it a reasonable life first.
    but then why on earth eat an animal...?