SWANSEA Community Farm will face a more secure future next week if council leaders agree on a new lease for the venue.
Home to goats, ducks, bees, sheep, pigs, ducks and geese, the city farm provides hundreds of volunteers with skills and a chance to get their hands in the soil.
Its current 21-year lease runs out this month, and it needs another one to offer security to funding organisations. Cabinet members are therefore being recommended to finalise a new one at a peppercorn rent.
A cabinet report said consideration had to be given to the need for housing land in Swansea, and that guarantees could not be given that land at the Fforestfach farm would not be needed in the long term.
Therefore a 35-year lease is being proposed, offering the farm security while not excluding the land for a possible alternative use beyond then. The council has provided around £410,000 to the farm over the years, but this funding came to an end two years ago.
Staff at the farm, which is a registered charity, have raised £3.5 million in grant funding since 2000. This has provided education and workshop rooms, a cafe, training kitchen, orchard, animal enclosures, ponds and a play area, among other things. The farm’s six part-time staff and its volunteers have been providing food parcels during the coronavirus pandemic.
The market value of the one-acre site is around £104,500 and could yield an annual income of some £10,000 per year.
The cabinet report states
“Swansea Community Farm is the only city farm in Wales and hosts a range of farm animals, allotments, wildlife area, beehives and cafe,” said the cabinet report.
“It exists to improve health and well-being, build skills alongside producing local food and caring for the natural environment, looked after by a team of volunteers for over 20 years
“Visitors are able to explore the grounds, meet the animals and see first-hand how food is produced.”