Celebrating 40 years of market gardening

Terry gets ready to sow onionsTerry is a co-farmer at our social enterprise, Elm Tree Farm in Bristol, and this is a very big year for him. Along with countless other people with learning disabilities, Terry spent a large part of his life in a long-stay hospital.

He lived at Purdown, which is now the Priory Hospital in Stapleton. Terry wasn’t born in Bristol, but he was very young when he moved to the hospital, and the area has been at the heart of his life ever since.

Creating a market garden

In January 1982, a small group of patients from Purdown came to the then hospital farm, to break ground on a new market garden project. It was designed as an occupational therapy resource, to provide training and activity for a wide range of abilities.

Terry plants some seedlingsTerry was one of the original group of around six people who braved the January weather with project leader Bill, who went on to manage the farm for many years, to start a whole new garden which continues to thrive.

Come rain or shine

Terry also has a job with our Grounds and Gardens team which he has done for many years, but he continues to work on the Market Garden once a week, come rain or shine – or hail, snow, or wind, for that matter!

Farm coordinator, Lisa, told us: “Terry is now an expert gardener and is so in tune with the routines of the farm that he can often be found showing new staff and volunteers the ropes.”

40 years on

Terry photographed at the farm in 1982 and again in 2022Terry was 22 years old when he first came to the farm all those years ago, and he still can’t pick a favourite thing. He says he: “Loves everything about it.”

Fast-forward 40 years, and the Market Garden team celebrated with caterpillar cakes (vegetable growers’ revenge), and a selection of vegetable juices that they made experimental mocktails with.

Congratulations Terry. Thank you for your valued contribution to the ongoing success of the farm.

Buy delicious produce from our farm shop

If you want to try some of Terry and the team’s fresh produce, all locally grown using organic methods, you’ll find a good selection at the farm shop on site. To find out more, including shop opening hours, please visit our farm shop page.