Sitopia Farm is a beautiful two acre farm in Greenwich.
We're based on Woodlands Farm who have generously loaned us the land.
When we got to work at the start of April 2021 our site was a green field grazed by sheep and a Shetland pony called Bob. With the help of nearly 300 volunteers we converted it into a flourishing, biodiverse space capable of producing large volumes of delicious fresh vegetables and flowers, as well as a community hub welcoming to all.
Everybody eats. Food is the great connector. For us therefore Sitopia, ‘the food place’ is both means and end. Sitopia comes from the Greek sitos, meaning food, and topos, meaning place, and is a play on the word Utopia. Where utopia means ‘good place’ or ‘no place’, Sitopia means ‘Food Place’. The word ‘sitopia’ was coined by Carolyn Steel, architect, lecturer, author of Sitopia and Hungry City and Sitopia Farm Advisory Board member.
What we stand for
Our vision is a world where the food we eat nourishes both people and planet.
Our current food system is not fit for purpose, contributing to the global syndemic of climate change & biodiversity collapse; obesity; and food poverty, even in wealthy countries such as the UK.
We're on a mission to make a better food system a reality in South East London and beyond.
We are passionate believers in the transformative health, social, and environmental benefits a more localised food system, using efficient regenerative agricultural techniques, can bring. Urban areas currently hold great untapped potential for food growing. We want to expand the use of land in London to grow food for our community, spread the word about the changes needed in the food system, and model the wider changes we want to see.
How do we do that?
We grow delicious vegetables, fruit and flowers using organic, agro-ecological and regenerative farming methods and sell locally.
We share our love of growing and skill-up a wide range of volunteers and partners.
We build community and bring people together around food growing for social benefit.
Our Growing Philosophy
We are Soil Association certified organic
We believe food can and should enhance biodiversity and human health.
So we don't use any pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers to grow our crops. Instead we use compost and plants called 'green manures' to build the fertility of our soil and control pests by covering crops.
We protect the life and structure of the soil
Healthy, nutritious food depends on healthy soil that is teaming with life; a web of tiny soil microorganisms, fungi and insects.
We farm in ways that protect and enhance that life in the soil by farming 'No Dig'. That means we leave the soil structure well alone - we don't dig, turn or plough the soil. Instead we add nutrition by putting compost on top of the soil and growing 'green manures' - plants known to add nutrients to the soil.
We are biodiverse
No monocultures here! We grow a diverse varity of crops on our two acre site. That not only means we can provide a wide range of tasty produce for you, but also maximises resilience, productivity and biodiversity on our farm.
We are local
We believe local farms are the future.
We supply food to the people of South East London which means we can deliver food that's been harvested the day before and doesn't come with loads of food miles.
Meet Our Farm Team
Chloë is our Founder and Chief Grower. Ever since she pulled up her first home-grown bright orange carrots as a little girl, she has secretly dreamed of being a farmer. For a long time she did other things: working in rural Tanzania with an international development charity, and then managing significant policies and programmes in central government as a senior civil servant, sneaking in bits of volunteering on other people’s farms in her holidays. But the dream persisted and so she completed an MSc in food policy at London’s City University as well as an urban food growing traineeship with Growing Communities. She then worked at Fern Verrow, a biodynamic farm in Herefordshire, before returning to London in 2020 to set up Sitopia Farm.
A born and bred Londoner with a love of the outdoors, Rachel has a background in Environmental Science and worked as a sustainable development consultant for many years. After tiring of life behind a desk, and realising that the frontline of sustainablity was calling, she took the leap into farming in 2018. After working for Farm of Ideas in Denmark, Growing Communities in London, getting her RHS Level 2 in Horticulture she happily joined Sitopia Farm in 2022 - running the farm while Chloë was on maternity leave. When not running around the farm doing all maner of jobs, you'll find her behind a camera lens, papping all the farm action or helping develop the farm's business plans and communications.
Growing up outdoors on the East Coast, Cat developed an early love of weather and wheelbarrows. A geography graduate with a fascination for how people relate to places, Cat has spent over 20 years working in destination marketing for tourism boards around the world. But her love of mud and veggies led her to start volunteering at the farm in June 2022 and now joins the team as an Assistant.
Meet Our Board
Dan works with residents, businesses, partners and colleagues on a range of projects seeking to make fairer and more resilient communities and neighbourhoods. His work focuses on people and nature-centred neighbourhoods, new and better homes, resilient high streets and local food. He has undertaken senior roles in regeneration and economic development at the London Borough of Newham and for Peabody at Thamesmead amongst other projects. Dan loves how food can bring together people from all backgrounds.
Milton is an owner and director of Catherine Tough, an ethical knitwear business operating from Hackney, and brings important marketing and business expertise to Sitopia Farm. A long-term Hackney resident, Milton is originally from Tanzania, hailing from the glorious, biodiverse Usambara Mountains where he set up an orphanage (now a school) and plans to do oral histories to preserve the incredible indigenous botanical knowledge and agricultural know-how. He was a volunteer at one of Sitopia’s pilot sites in Hackney, loved buying its produce, and is a passionate advocate for local community action.
Anna is a senior lawyer at Clifford Chance with over 10 years' experience in international arbitration, international law and dispute resolution. She is also an expert in the emerging field of business and human rights law. She is a long-serving honorary legal adviser at the Royal Courts of Justice Citizens Advice Bureau and is a trustee of Lawyers against Poverty. She frequently presents and publishes on business and human rights and most recently has been an integral part of educational programmes for Advocates for International Development in London, Kenya and Rwanda. She is strongly committed to Sitopia Farm, volunteering at one of the farm's initial sites in Hackney from its inception.
Alice is our Farmitect and has helped design and implement our farm. She has worked on organic farms of various types and scales over the past 20 years. In 2012, she became Head Grower at Growing Communities’ Dagenham farm and led the transformation of a disused ex-council nursery site into a productive peri-urban, organic farm. Alice continues to work with Growing Communities, an organisation that works with local farmers to feed urban populations in a fair and sustainable way. Her work demonstrates that organic farming can successfully combine benefits to the environment and community and offers solutions to urgent climate problems. Alice is the author of Do Grow, a book to encourage and enable more people to grow their own food.
Carolyn Steel is a leading thinker on food and cities. An award-winning writer, architect and academic, she is the author of Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives (2008) and Sitopia: How Food Can Save the World (2020). Her concept of sitopia, or food-place, has gained international recognition across a broad range of fields in design, ecology, academia and the arts. A director of Kilburn Nightingale Architects in London, Carolyn studied architecture at Cambridge University and subsequently taught at Cambridge, London Metropolitan and Wageningen Universities and at the London School of Economics, where she was the inaugural director of the Cities programme.
Friends of Sitopia Farm
Sitopia Farm has also variously received advice, support, financial and in kind assistance from:
the Flowers family.
Thank you to everyone who has helped make Sitopia Farm all it is today.