As soon as we have a bout of nice weather you suddenly start to notice all of the green spaces tucked away in London. There’s something about the way that the sun soaks into grass and makes it smell really good that makes me wish I lived in the countryside, kept my own chickens and grew my own vegetables.
The good news for us city dwelling, secret ‘The Farmer Wants A Wife’ watching folks is that city farms are becoming more and more common. I visited Surrey Docks Farm recently, and couldn’t get over the idea of all those business people in suits slaving away at their desks just across the water while a goat tried to eat my bag. We petted sheep, laughed at the geese, talked in annoying baby voices to the cute piglets and made resolutions to buy fresh, locally farmed eggs, honey, meat and vegetables whenever we could. (Knowing where it comes from makes it taste so much better than standard Tesco stuff.)
It all sounds very much like Marie-Antoinette with her toy farm, except these animals hadn’t had their coats washed before we came to visit. Perhaps it is a little indulgent for urbanites to sample a pared down taste of farm life without even having to leave the city, but then again it is also a way for people to reconnect with the origins of the basic ingredients of their every day lives. (If this idea interests you, check out the Slow Food UK organisation.) Surrey Docks farm is predominantly an educational centre, welcoming large groups of children and teaching them about growing vegetables and where their meat comes from. It’s hard to imagine for a girl raised in rural Oxfordshire, but some inner-city children grow up without ever seeing a cow. Now I just think that’s sad.