An Ode to Sutton Community Farm – Happy 10th Birthday!

Sutton Community Farm turns 10 today and to celebrate, a few (ahem) lines of rhyme to weave the community together with words, a little journey back in time.

So many have come before to help build it, and all have played their part in making the farm the thriving hub it is, it’s tricky to know where to start!

Some names you may not remember or know, but this is just one’s humble take. All these and more helped the farm to grow (MANY, many more than those mentioned below) so please pardon any omission or mistake!

In the beginning were Anna and Seeta… Both were extremely vocal in spreading word of the farm far and wide with support from Bioregional and EcoLocal.

Ruth, Kev, Gavin, Fred, Tim, You’ll see all their faces in the old pictures. all frequented the shed at one time,  responsible for many facilities and fixtures.

Sisters Corin and Rachel, Emma of Little Bugs, Kirsty, Kathryn L, Julie, Morwenna (or Mo), Anna, Janette, and (if it counts at all), that one-time visit from BoJo.

Laura-Jean the marketing queen  and siblings, Helen and Rob, Sophie, Carlota, Charlotte and Sam,  all were on the job!

Jenny’s tea, filmmakers Annie O and George, Bread Angels Gaye and Goli, treats from Slavo, Kate’s delicious cakes, and drivers Sadie and Ollie.

Veryan, Manisha, Maeve and Eva in the days of Sutton People’s Kitchen, marketing researchers Lauren, Priya and Clare,  none afraid to pitch in!

Joe T’s help with barn brainstorming, Bryn’s new ordering system to improve retention,  Jess’ face-painting, Doug’s beautiful mural,  and Karina and Tem’s signs help grab folks’ attention.

Composters Nicola, Ian, Muneezay and Mike, Peggy’s flowers have made the farm so pretty! Andrew, full of stories, local and general knowledge, and testing us on Africa’s capital cities.

We’re a pioneering farm dependent on volunteers, And thankfully people still jump at the chance. Matthieu, Marc, Eric and Tanguy travelled to us all the way from France!

Miranda, Neil G, and Laura our fiddler-face-painter, occasionally agreeing to help pack bags inside. Also Thomas, Ariadna, Carole, Kat and others — thank you all for crossing over to “the dark side”!

Spudmeister Allan, “brave the cold” Dave, Orchard Hill, Harley and Gary, James, Jo and those despicable grapefruits, and our Thursday comedian, Barry.

A desirable feature in any picture is Rosa, our dearly beloved tractor. She’s not just a pretty implement, though; on our scale, she’s a vital factor!

Committee members, past and present: Malcolm, Mark, Diane, Robert, Neil, Alison, Rod. And shout-out, too, to Mary H and Jo W, for helping us get the funders’ nod!

Others too have been out delivering our freshly packed bags of veg: Violet, Sharland, Jenny, Jay,  Tony, Peter, Daniel, Paul, Mike and Tracy, Joe and Jane, Tom, Jas, Drew, Lawrence, Beckie, Claude and Matthew (*phew*) – big thanks to you all!

And to the current staff team, of course, whose work is never done, out there making it happen, come rain, wind, snow, or baking sun.

Alice, Pavlina, Sam, Sonia, Rachel, Sarah, Amy, Vincent, Will, Nick and your sarcastic retorts, and of course, by all reports, one whose reputation is preceded by his white shorts.

Although his name rhymes with “Boris” and in his time we’ve received many an award and nomination,  as Pavlina would say, “we’re getting there” – not quite ready for world-domination.

But wait! There are a few names not yet mentioned, although these “old timers” may not appreciate the attention. Like flies on the wall, they’ve watched farm history unfold. First, the Tale of Two Jackies must be told.

She’s at the farm before any of the staff, Detective “Sherlock Holmes” Casey. Just say, “Houston, we have a problem” – and she’ll text at midnight when she’s solved it – but beware, her burlesque moves are pretty racy!

The other, one “Marilyn Monroe” of the farm, will persuade anyone with her uke skills, zumba moves and charm.Both very glamorous in their respective ways but such double-trouble, we had to split them across different days…

We coaxed Judy back off the high-street and roped in all of her children too,  Oli and Ali (and maybe one day even Fern!) and Zoe, our design guru.

Joel, an expert on self-sufficiency, our pizza- and seed-sowing extraordinaire, partial to hot oat milk (I joke), often has the staff fighting over him when he’s there, and handles everything with his usual savoir faire.

What with Judy, Joel, Jo and her grapefruit, and the two packing Jackies (who are a total hoot), one might think one’s name HAS to start with “J” if it weren’t for our longest-serving volunteer, Gay who’s been here since the very first day!

And last but not least,  our resident fire-starter, glove-washer, tidy-upper and general everything-er,  who wears so many different hats and can usually be found conversing about cats — Katharine, the staff fight over you too, what more can we say!

You all make being at the farm a delight. Like two Wongs in a row which make every week right. Giant tromboncinos! Rude veg, and breakfast club, whatever the occasion, we produce darn good grub.

The little farm on Telegraph Track has something about it that keeps folks coming back. It’s probably not where Chris’ blue bus used to be, or the hole in the floor, or the peeling* (*now fixed!) walls, or the sticky door.

Perhaps on a clear day it’s a different perspective of the Shard, or the fact that it’s pretty hard to beat our chard.

Most likely it’s because folks feel connected to something bigger, where they can grow and flourish, contribute and be nourished.

Corporates, probation services, The Wandle Ceilidh Band, to all those whose names adorn the shed walls. If you’ve been involved and have not been mentioned, your forgiveness is begged – the author is well-intentioned.

Customers, members, and everyone who’s gifted their time, our thanks go beyond the realms of this rhyme.

To end, raise your glass or your tea-mug and cheers to Sutton Community Farm and its 10 proud years!