One of Scotland’s last urban farms will reopen as a community-run venture with a volunteer organization to plan for the future, Edinburgh City Council has announced.
Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh, formerly run by the Love Learning charity, closed last month.
Edinburgh Voluntary Organizations Council will plan the future of the farm.
It is clear that Edinburgh Zoo, Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian and East Links Family Park in Dunbar are interested in taking over.
Edinburgh Voluntary Organizations Council (Evoc) is expected to form a steering committee – comprising officers from the voluntary sector, campaign groups, the local community and the council.
A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said: “This will result in a stronger plan for the reopening of Gorgie City Farm, with a strong sustainability plan for the future.”
However, Evoc’s role will not be to run the farm.
Cammy Day, President of Edinburgh City Council, said: “I am delighted to have Evoc on board for the Gorgie City Farm site as they have a proven track record of supporting local organizations in need of expert advice.
“At the heart of the work they will undertake are options for a community-led, collaborative and financially sustainable future for the site.”
Bridie Ashrowan, chief executive of Evoc, said: “We are committed to a community-led approach to this project, learning from other successful partnerships in the city.
“We have no interest in the future of the Gorgie Farm site and will step back if and when a community-led partnership is established, through the work of the Steering Committee.
“This will lay the groundwork for the Gorgie Farm site with a chance for long-term viability.”
The farm’s former operator, Love Learning, said it was hit by pandemic restrictions, the cost of living and a lack of funding.
It benefited from a three-year break clause to terminate its five-year lease with the City of Edinburgh Council.
The farm went bankrupt earlier in November 2019.
Crowdfunding raised £100,000 and Love Learning reopened it in 2020.
The charity said utility bills for the three-acre farm rose from £17,000 for 18 months to £27,000 for just eight months.
The farm had about 50 head of livestock and 50 domestic animals including sheep, pigs, ducks, geese and chickens and a number of smaller animals including snakes and lizards.
There were 30 staff on the farm and many more volunteers. There are also allotments on the site.