top of page
Flowers in community garden

Community Wildlife Vegetable Garden

What We Do

The Community Wildlife Vegetable Garden is a core aspect of our work. We provide educational experiences and work placements for local children and offer volunteering opportunities for people who are seeking to manage mental health issues, reduce stress or spend more time outdoors.


The garden has been created from a 0.24 hectare (0.6 acres) rough piece of farmland, leased on a peppercorn rent from Green Farm. It was initially cleared by the farm’s pigs and developed with wildlife in mind; we never use chemicals on the land and now we have gone entirely no-dig.

We have our Community Garden Manager, Shelly, with the full range of responsibilities looking after our volunteers, vulnerable adults and children, the wildlife and, of course, the vegetable growing. We also give an opportunity to an horticultural apprentice, currently Emma. Please see further down for more information about Shelly.

Throughout the year our staff and volunteers help us to grow a range of produce, which we sell at a weekly pop-up shop to raise much-needed funds.

Wild flowers and bees

Why We Do It

  • An area to gain the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors and active.

  • A safe haven for people and wildlife

  • A place for relaxation, education & opportunity for all

  • A chance to learn where food comes from

  • Sell produce to help fund the garden

The Difference We Make

"After a spell volunteering in the garden, I feel revitalised from spending time in the fresh air, I make a connection with people, not to mention learning lots about gardening, farm life and wildlife.


My whole family has got involved in the garden. Our son Sam, who has special needs sometimes comes to help, and has become an expert watering the beds in the summer! Martin and Maryann designated a special area of the garden for Sam to tend to, so we prepared the whole bed together as a family and Catherine guided us in how to plant perennials and tend the bed. Our son Gabriel spent the first year of his life watching what goes on in the garden, he knows everyone there and I hope he will get involved when he is a bit bigger!


My husband, Matt, has also helped out and this summer we had the chance to volunteer all together as a family, using our different skills to help out. It truly was idyllic. Even my mum, who has dementia has got involved. I spent a whole day with her in the garden, and for the first time in her 79 years she planted some seeds! It was a lovely way to bond with her. Even with her memory difficulties she still remembers the day we had in the garden and remembers Catherine's name.


The Community Garden has become a big part of our lives. I always know whenever I go down there I'll see a friendly face, be able to get stuck in weeding, or planting seeds or bulbs or watering or whatever needs to be done, and however short or long a time I am able to help out that day it will always be valued!"

Helen Dowle: Volunteer and Community Garden User

Onions harvested
Shelly Woodcock Garden Manager.jpg

Meet Shelly our Community Garden Manager

What did you do before you came to Green Farm?

I worked for an environmental education centre running a kitchen garden teaching children and families about nature-friendly gardening and healthy eating.

I also worked for The National Trust in three local properties where I welcomed and looked after hundreds of visitors alongside volunteers.


I'm also a qualified teacher and have spent the last 15 years in outdoor education with an emphasis on growing plants and understanding nature.


What do you love most about Green Farm?

It's the people that make the difference, the team and volunteers. Everyone at Green Farm is so passionate about making Green Farm a beautiful place to be.

What do you love most about your role as Garden Manager?

It's got to be growing food and plants in a sustainable way and passing on my love of growing to others. I still get excited when seeds germinate and grow even though I have been gardening all my life.

Another benefit is being able to eat and sample the vegetables as I work, all part of quality control, of course, I love checking that everything tastes exceptional.

What is your passion and what do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I'm extremely passionate about sustainability. When I am not working I enjoy foraging and walking, learning languages and reading, oh and more gardening!


Could you share your top tips for growing vegetables?

Oh yes, my top tip is to keep trying! There are so many factors that affect whether a plant will grow. If it doesn't work the first time just have another go because next time it might just grow. Also, don't be afraid to grow new things. I try to grow at least three new plants a year.

I always follow the 'right plant, right place' advice. I will always research where a plant will be happy before trying to grow it, although saying that sometimes plants will surprise you and grow in the most unlikely places!

bottom of page