Community Catering – A Farm in a Shop

Urban farming has been a relatively hot topic for some time now – waiting lists for allotments are apparently the longest in recent decades and rooftops of homes and commercial buildings are being transformed into mini vegetable and fruit plots.

You only have to walk down a row of Victorian terraces in many UK cities and towns and you will see narrow windowsills with tomato plants and the like precariously perched towards the sun.

Something & Son, an eco-social design practice, in conjunction with partner organisations, has taken urban farming to the next level with what is claimed to be ‘the world’s first urban farming hub’. Located at 20 Dalston Place, London, a former derelict shop has been converted into a farm which includes an arts venue, cafe and events space which is also available for hire. Every available space is packed with living and breathing food.

FARM:shop opened in March 2011 and now boasts a mini ‘aquaponic’ fish farm, rooftop chicken coops, indoor allotment and a polytunnel. As may be expected, the cafe menu incorporates produce farmed and grown on the premises.

The operation is run by a team of volunteers and profits support a farming outreach programme.

FARM: are setting up a network of FARM:shops and urban grow sites across the UK. If you’ve got an unused warehouse space, rooftop, balcony or the like that you would like to farm they can be contacted at

Posted on November 2nd, 2011