12. A True Diamond in the Rough: Mudchute City Farm

Beneath heady towers of London’s financial district, on the isle of dogs, sits 32 acres of green and pleasant land. This 32 acres of land that was once used to defend London from Nazi bombers and had the Eastend community of dockers at its heart, is now home to something special.

It is home to Mudchute Farm, the UK’s largest city farm.

Since 1977 the farm has been growing and it now has over 250 animals, a restaurant, a shop and an education centre. Mudchute differs to many city farms in that it’s not just a zoo for farm animals but it’s a working farm. Fully integrated in to the farm is its education centre, which brings in kids from city schools to learn how the farm is run and most importantly works with vulnerable children. Whether they have severe learning difficulties or acute behavioural problems they are put to work on the farm in a variety of capacities that engages the individuals in a hands on manner, gives them a level of responsibility and has incredible results.

What is most striking about the farm is the physical and visual proximity of two very contrasting work choices. Farming and international banking are two very different fields of work and it is impossible not to see the positive impacts of the work being done at Mudchute, whether it’s in the behavioural changes of vulnerable individuals, the participation of local communities or classes of children brimming with intrigue and excitement.

With the money generated from international finance it is now common place for banks to have a benevolent arm, which sees various projects undertaken that can benefit large numbers of people. However it is the values that drive organisations like Mudchute that is different, no bank that sits in East Greenwich can claim to have started out with the surrounding community at its heart and with the people in that community supporting the actions and direction of work being done.

A banker does not approach his work with benevolence in mind, there is a job to be done and that is to increase revenues within the bank coffers, where as places like Mudchite are driven by a core set of values from the beginning. The benevolent arm of any large organisation comes as an after thought to the work they carry out and it can be assumed that bankers will not correlate their investments to the actions of their companies benevolent work.

The farm is a social enterprise that has benevolence at its centre, where as the banks that tower over its fields are businesses with a benevolent afterthought.

Head down to Mudchute and take a look, you could take in the fresh air, volunteer or just eat a sandwich and walk around with the sheep.

Author: Matt Smee

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tonight on Channel 4 Daddy Daycare. we took the kids here!!!

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