Unusual barn conversion provides food for thought

Rob Stoneman
Rob Stoneman
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FAMILIES are being invited to a sneak preview of a £300,000 barn conversion with a difference.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust staff at Stirley Community Farm in Huddersfield are part-way through a project to create a food education centre inside an old barn at the site near Castle Hill.

The ‘Cre8 Barn’ will be the focus of an annual open day on Sunday September 1.

The barn, which is near to Berry Brow, will provide an area for visitors to learn about food production and preparation, farming and the environment.

The modern education facility will be available for schools and community groups to use from April next year, as well as provide a base for the regular events held by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on the farm that they have leased since winter 2009.

Funded by £300,000 from The Veolia Environmental Trust’s Cre8 scheme, via the Landfill Communities Fund, the barn restoration has taken almost a year to get to the stage where it can be opened to the public.

It has been designed to a “Passivhaus standard”, which means it is super-insulated and will require virtually no heating.

Chairman of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Oswald Dodds, said: “I am really looking forward to seeing how far this exciting and innovative project has progressed. Once it is finished, the Cre8 Barn will be a beacon of education, sustainability and environmentally friendly farming and I look forward to seeing its completion.”

An official launch of the barn will be held in spring 2014, following the completion of landscaping work on the exterior, interpretation work inside and the creation of disabled access.

From 11am on the open day there will activities including butterfly walks around the farm, guided walks to local landmark Castle Hill, grassland machinery tours, crafts and games. Lunch made from local food produce, including vegetables from the farm itself will be on offer.

Trust chief executive Rob Stoneman said: “I cannot believe how far we have progressed Stirley Community Farm since 2010. The Cre8 Barn will be the hub of the farm, a place for the community to come together and learn more about growing and cooking seasonal food from the community growing area established at the farm.”