Her Majesty The Queen to Visit Gorgie City Farm

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Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London.

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN WILL VISIT GORGIE CITY FARM, EDINBURGH

THURSDAY 4TH JULY, 2019

Her Majesty The Queen will visit Gorgie City Farm, a community based initiative which first opened to the public in 1982.

Her Majesty will be met on arrival by officials from the farm before viewing the gardens where she will meet volunteers, support workers and local children. Seasonal produce, sold at the farm and to local businesses and restaurants, will be on display and Her Majesty will meet the garden produce volunteer team.

The Queen will then view the animal enclosures including the duck pen, stables and Pet Lodge and meet local children working with the animals.

She will then view a display of petting animals and meet ‘Olive’ the duck. In the main hall, Her Majesty will view a display to learn about development plans for Gorgie City Farm.

Her Majesty will unveil a plaque, sign the visitors’ book and receive a posy before departing.

Gorgie City Farm is a much-loved green breathing space for the local community and visitors, free and available for all to enjoy. The animals on the Farm vary due to stock management, land use and maintaining animal welfare but there are generally have chickens, ducks, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. There are also small animals such as bearded dragons, tortoises, guinea pigs and land snails.

There is an education garden, herb and sensory garden, several greenhouses, a poly-tunnel and a vegetable garden with a wildlife garden providing space for all kinds of wild insects, beasts and birds. Gorgie City Farm grow a range of fruit and vegetables, some of which are available seasonally from its produce stall, and some are sold to shops and restaurants in the community.

The site of the Gorgie City farm is located 2 miles (3 km) from Central Edinburgh.  It was a waste depot by the Edinburgh Corporation until the 1930s.  Horse-drawn refuse carts would deposit their loads from the wagons.  This was linked to the Railway which still passes to the west of the farm today. After this, the site was used for civil defence training area during the war.  It then lay derelict and disused, owned by the local authority for many years afterwards.

In 1977, a community group started work clearing the derelict site of what is now Gorgie City Farm. There were plans to develop the site for housing or for a school, but local people insisted green space was the priority and the City farm opened to the public in 1982. Ever since it has been working farm, selling lambs, pork, eggs, vegetables and manure to raise some of its running costs, and visited by tens of thousands of visitors every year.

The farm has always been free to enter, with donations from visitors being a vital part of its financing. The farm is run by a board of directors and money has been raised from a wide variety of sources both local and national. Chief among these has been for many years a grant for the City of Edinburgh Council, which funds the majority of staff wages.

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG), of which Gorgie Farm has been a member for many years, opened a Scottish office within Gorgie Farm in 2006.

On the 29th April 2016 Gorgie City Farm announced an urgent appeal. Rising costs and a serious reduction in external funding meant the farm had to turn to the community to help keep it open.  The response was phenomenal, within six weeks local people and businesses had donated £100 000. The actions of the community provided a real boost to staff and volunteers.  Since the appeal there has been ongoing energy and enthusiasm for developing the site and services, a robust business plan is now in place to ensure the long term sustainability of this much loved community resource.

Catch up on Her Majesty’s most recent engagements in the latest issue of Royal Life.Busy as a Queen Bee - Queen Elizabeth II Still Flying the Flag for Britain

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