Urban farming business sets up shop in Dalston

A special project supported by Hackney Council will give residents the opportunity to try their hand at urban farming in Dalston.

FARM:shop which is the brainchild of Something & Son is an urban agriculture centre based at 20 Dalston Lane, E8. It will include a community café, events venue and workspace, offering fresh produce directly traceable to a farm or grown in the shop itself.

FARM:shop is supported by TV chef Jamie Oliver and opens its doors to the public from Friday 5 November, extending its opening times from Monday to Friday later in the year. Up to 40 volunteers, mostly from within the borough, have been working around the clock every weekend since July to get the project off the ground.

FARM:shop will give visitors the chance to see a variety of sustainable farming techniques, including mini fish farms, rooftop chicken coops and an indoor allotment. FARM:shop is one of several projects that has benefited from Hackney Council’s Art in Empty Spaces initiative which is supported through central government funding. Art in Empty Spaces is designed to transform empty properties into something useful and meaningful for Hackney’s residents and visitors.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: "Farm:shop is a great joint initiative which will give residents in the borough and beyond a great opportunity to see first-hand how urban farming works.

“I hope that residents will continue to support projects like this. I wish FARM:shop every success in its new home within Dalston.”

Paul Smyth, co-founder of Something & Son, said: “We’re really excited by this project and hope that we can bring a bit of the countryside into the heart of Dalston.

“FARM:shop will provide a place for local businesses, community groups and families to come together and learn more about sustainable farming.”

FARM:shop aims to inspire and educate Londoners, particularly Dalston residents, about how food is grown and to encourage healthy eating. It will also provide an affordable workspace and meeting room hire for start up businesses and help bring creative businesses into the borough which focus on sustainability and the food industry.

It is expected that FARM:shop will help to demonstrate the viability of sustainable urban food systems. It will also provide regular volunteer opportunities in growing food as well as a series of fortnightly workshops and events about sustainable food and farming.

For more information about Art in Empty Spaces and all the projects that are currently active, please visit: