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The Cycle of Life and Death — Spring 2022 Newsletter

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“Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.”

― Dōgen

In this newsletter:

City Farm Animals' Update

Suddenly it's all happening: three (3) kid goats born, three (3) piglets have arrived, bird flu restrictions for farmed poultry have been lifted and goose eggs are hatching!

Konekone pigs at St Werburghs City Farm with carers

And just like that St Werburghs City Farm is full of life again...

Though this joy has come with immense sadness too...

Darth, kid goat with his mother nanny goat Barley
Barley with Darth, one of the three kid goat kids she birthed on Sunday

Barley, who just gave birth to the triplet kid goats, died on Tuesday from a womb infection.

Despite the best efforts from our Farmers and support from the vet, we couldn't pull her through, and she is no longer with us.

The Goats

If you've been paying attentionsign up to the City Farm's newsletter — you'll know we've been hoping for Barley (nanny goat) and Crumble (nannyling or first time to be mother goat) to become pregnant.

Apache, from Windmill Hill City Farm, father of the three (3) goat kids, with Crumble, a couple of months ago

And it almost all came together...

Barley gave birth to three (3) healthy male kid goats on Sunday May 1st, just after the new moon.

Her due date was May 4th so the little ones have naturally been named after Star War characters: Darth, Chewy and Ewok.

The triplets all had their first fills of colostrum, are curiously exploring their surroundings, playfully head butting each other and whoever dares to enter their pen, and were giving warm love licks to their mum, who had already stood up to start feeding them and had already started eating again.

But on Monday May 2nd the day began with a very different tone.

Barley resumed labour, had a stillbirth and began running a fever.

During the entire day the kid goats were able to continue feeding whilst she was lying down.

She received antibiotics and very strong painkillers.

But it wasn't enough.

She died in the early hours of Tuesday without too much pain.

Go here to read "In Memoriam of Barley, March 2017 — May 2022".

Now the kid goats are being looked after by us humans.

And we're doing our very best and finding solace in the vitality and energy these little ones have.

If you visit you'll be able to spot a heat lamb for warmth and a specialist machine that allows the little goats 24hr access to warm milk replacer.

We'll start encouraging them to nibble solid food and hopefully wean them off milk before they're two months old.

You'll also notice blue spots on their heads as they've been disbudded (dehorned).

Our other younger nannyling (to be first time mother), Crumble, is living next door waiting to give birth to her own kids in mid June.

Unfortunately we can't allow her to bond more closely with the orphans as they could steal all Crumble's milk needed for her own kids.

She's a herd animal and will be missing Barley more then we are.


Saffron, who's been at Windmill Hill City Farm during this time — as Apache, the Billy goat father to the goat kids, is also Saffron's father — has returned to us (she would have soon be slaughtered for meat next week).

Several of our staff members, service users and volunteers had asked for her to not come back as it's always difficult to part ways with an animal before it's slaughtered, especially if you've come to know and care for the animal.

But in the current circumstances, giving the void that Barley has left in the City Farm, Saffron is back and everyone is very happy about it as she's one of the most gentle and friendly goats we've had.

Saffron's future, we don't know yet, but currently she's enjoying the cuddles!

And last but not least, an important reminder to wash your hands after visiting the goats and please remember, pregnant women should not approach this area to avoid disease risks.


Since rehoming Penny, the City Farm's sow, we decided we're no longer breeding pigs.

Instead, each spring we'll buy local piglets and rear them for autumn meat.

So that's what we've just done.

Hector, Betsy and Florence are the City Farm's three new resident piglets

This will allow the pig sty to regenerate during the winter and given the very limited space we have on the City Farm it's the most sensible thing to do (as highlighted by last year's Livestock Review).

About a week and a half ago three team members went on a day trip and came back with three (3) six month old Kunekune pigs.

Kunekune is a Māori-language word meaning "fat and round".

Most pigs normally reach their butchering size and weight at around six (6) months but Kune's take between 9 and 12 months so these three will be with us until the Autumn.

Feathered Friends

After over four (4) months of farm poultry lockdown, the government lifted the majority of bird flu restrictions (though outbreaks do continue) and farmed birds can once again roam under the free sky.

The chickens can now roam the earth!

This allowed us, after a long wait, to finally rehome the six (6) female ducks to Bath City Farm. The remaining male is waiting for a trip to a small holding in town. During bird flu lockdown their pond became a dipping pond and is starting to attract insects and wildlife.

And In case you missed it, we now have a baby gosling and two ducklings on site, and we're hoping more geese eggs will hatch soon.

Food Choices

St Werburghs City Farm was born over 40 years ago as a way to involve people living in a city in the running of a working livestock farm so that we wouldn't forget where our food comes from.

Staying true to our foundational ethos remains important to this day so we invite you to consider the conditions in which animals are reared. Empathy can go a long way when considering how a creature is treated and what type of farming practices we're supporting with our dietary choices.

The 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that industrial agriculture and overfishing are the primary drivers of extinction, with the meat and dairy industries having a substantial impact.

The UK's chicken boom, for example, is fuelling deforestation in South America, which each time is closer to reaching its tipping point.

Ultimately our food and economical systems dictate what's on the menu, and for many it's simply not possible to access local healthy food that isn't costing people and planet, which is why we'll continue to do our bit and try to tell the story of food as it is, whilst showcasing local initiatives that are leading the way in demonstrating alternatives.

Farms not Factories surveyed the UK's top supermarkets and discovered the majority are still selling pork from factory farms in their own-brand fresh pork ranges. If you can afford to do so, it's even better to buy from a local independent farm that meets or exceeds organic standards.

18 - 25 year olds: FREE Outdoor Wellbeing + Practical Skills Course
begins Monday May 16th

Join our next 12 week Outdoor, Wellbeing & Practical Skills Course at Boiling Wells Conservation Site and Food Forest.

It's FREE and begins Monday May 16th between 11AM - 3PM.

The course combines gentle wellbeing practices with outdoor skills such as growing vegetables, fire lighting, green woodworking, charcoal making, harvesting and making herbal medicine and much more.

To apply and be offered a space, please submit this form ASAP:

The form can also be filled out on-site or if you have any questions email or call 01179428241.

Online Vegetable Gardening Course

For a limited time only (until 11:59PM on Sunday May 15th) we're offering an introductory offer! Simply type in the following discount code at checkout to get an automatic 25% off your Vegetable Gardening Course for Beginners:

Since 2016 the Propagation Place has grown and shipped hundreds of thousands of Plug Plants and Gardens in a Box all over the UK. Needless to say, our team has learned a lot about growing food.

Our expert team of gardeners and horticulturists have been giving growing tips and advice to hundreds of customers, volunteers and allotmenteers from all sorts of backgrounds.

So just before the pandemic began, the "Propagators" — the affectionate way we refer to those who work by the pollytunnel — decided to make their knowledge and experience accessible to a lot more people.

Gardening Volunteer at the Propagation Place

And during the last two (2) years, along Tim Foster's help to shape the curriculum, they've developed an Online Vegetable Gardening Course for Beginners to act as a companion and guide into your first forays of growing your own vegetables.

The course material is a mixture of videos, activities and written information and includes amongst other things:

  • how to map, plan and design your own garden
  • information on crop rotations and cropping techniques
  • everything you need to know about plant nutrition and composting
  • how prevent and deal with pests and diseases
  • information on how to grow a variety of plant families!
For a limited time only (until 11:59PM on Sunday May 15th) we're offering an introductory offer! Simply type in the following discount code at checkout to get an automatic 25% off your Vegetable Gardening Course for Beginners:

Current Vacancies:
Finance Manager (1) & Education Officer (1)

Finance Manager
(Part-time, Operational Manager Grade)

For Job Description and full details: GO HERE!

Closing Date: Monday May 16th

Contract Type: Permanent

Salary: Starting salary of £28,226, pro rata, per annum, paid monthly

Hours of work: 22.5 to 30 hours per week (0.6 - 0.8 FTE) depending on the right candidate. The majority of hours will be undertaken between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Location: this role is based at St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol however some remote working may be possible. The Office is a dog-friendly workplace.

Education Officer
(Zero Hours — Child and Youth Team)

For Job Description and full details: GO HERE!

Closing Date: Monday May 9th

Contract Type: Zero-hours contract

Salary: £10.30 per hour + £50 per overnight

Hours of work: three days and two nights from July 25th to July 27th, and between 8:30AM and 6:00PM from August 15th to August 18th .

Location: this role is based at St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol.

Summer Day Camp

Summer Camp at St Werburghs City Farm

Dates: Monday August 15th - Thursday August 18th

Schedule: 10AM - 4PM each day.

Ages: 6 to 12 years old.

Cost: £120 per child.

Extended wrap around care is also available from 8:30AM - 10AM and / or from 4PM - 5:30PM and costs £16 per day or £10 per morning / afternoon session.

Spaces are limited: each year the camp is completely full so book your space by email: or call: 01179428241.

The Land Skills Fair

The Landworkers’ Alliance is a union of farmers, growers, foresters and land-based workers with a mission is to improve the livelihoods of their members and create a better food and land-use system for everyone.

As members of The Landworkers's Alliance we invite you to this weekend of multigenerational and multicultural skill and knowledge exchange through workshops, talks, activities, music and of course delicious food and drink.

The Land Skills Fair as an opportunity to build the Food and Land Justice movement through a diverse, celebratory, creative and safe space, and for everyone to learn from each other and explore different land-based topics and practices.

Buy Vegetable Plants Online

Spring orders have concluded and summer ones have begun.

Are you on it?

Purchase thriving seedlings via our simple online ordering system, and get ready for an abundant harvest!

Our team of professional horticulturists and local volunteers take away the challenges of germinating seeds and caring for young seedlings, and we deliver well established Plug Plants and Gardens in a Box ready for success.
Until 11:59PM on Sunday May 15th we're offering a 10% DISCOUNT OFF any orders. Simply type in the following discount code at checkout to get an automatic 10% off:
Take the word from those who’ve bought vegetable plants from us. Read over 400 reviews here....

Outlandish Nights

Outlandish Nights has put on a spring series of five (5) concerts celebrating Folk Traditions from across the world in the magical surroundings of Boiling Wells' Woodland Amphitheatre.

The first three (3) have been a magical blast and only the last two (2) are left!

From England's finest traditional musicians, folk Balkan and Romani tunes, and music born in rural southern France to Quebec-inspired folk, Irish, American and Appalachian old-time, and Greek island Crete’s traditional fiery music: book your tickets because you're in store for something truly special.

📅 FULL CALENDAR OF Outlandish Nights:

St Werburghs City Farm Cafe served a seasonally inspired menu for the first two evenings whilst Houria Catering, a Bristol-based anti-slavery and anti-racism catering organisation, training and hiring female survivors of slavery, catered for the third one and will also serve Pan-Afrikan Vegan feasts for the last two.

Super Saturdays
and Boiling Wells Open Days

Super Saturdays in St Werburghs is a joint effort between St Werburghs Community Centre, Children's Scrapstore and St Werburghs City Farm.

Please follow us on social media to get details for each Saturday.


St Werburghs City Farm Team at the Community Garden

Each year, the City Farm has to raise more than £500,000 to deliver our vital community services and activities and to keep the City Farm open and freely accessible all year round.

Given the current economic crisis it's each becoming more and more difficult to fundraise.

And this year we're running short.

In about a month's time will know exactly how big of a money hole we'll have to fill in our budget to simply continue doing the essential work we're already doing.

Charities, just as ourselves, rely on grants, contracts and donations to carry out community work, and following the pandemic we've not been able to secure some of the funding that we were counting on.

We're extremely grateful for one-off donations of any size.

If it's within your reach, the most effective way to support the City Farm is to become a regular MONTHLY DONOR, as this allows us to better plan for the future and support our communities' ongoing needs.

You can donate in the following ways:

  • Pop a £3 donation into the donation bin every time you visit — or use the "Tap to Donate" facility if passing by the gates
  • Make a one-off online donation using LocalGiving
  • Become a regular Monthly Donor by signing up at LocalGiving

And… what else?

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