The site of Gorgie City Farm is located 3 miles (5 km) from Central Edinburgh. It was used as a waste depot by the Edinburgh Corporation until the 1930s. Horse-drawn refuse carts would deposit their loads from the wagons. The site was linked to the railway which still passes to the west of the farm today, the horse-drawn carts would then rumble onwards to dump waste outside of the city.
After this, the site was used for civil defence training area during the war. It then lay derelict and disused, owned by the local authority for many years afterwards.
In 1977, a community group started work clearing the derelict site of what is now Gorgie City Farm. There were plans to develop the site for housing or for a school, but local people insisted that green space was the priority and the City Farm opened to the public in 1982. Ever since, it has been a working farm, selling lambs, pigs, eggs, vegetables and manure to raise some of its running costs, and is visited by tens of thousands of happy visitors every year.
The farm has always been free to enter, with donations from visitors being a vital part of it’s financing. The farm is run by a Board drawn from [membership] of the Gorgie City farm Association, a registered charity (No. SCO 10105) open to all. Money has been raised from a wide variety of sources both local and national. Chief among these, has been for many years a grant from the City of Edinburgh Council, which funds the majority of staff wages.
One of the principle characters who developed the farm nt it’s early days was Bunty Anderson.
A huge amount of work on the farm has involved volunteers, from artists creating the mosaics on the farm walls, to teenagers mucking out the cow pen.
In the late 80’s the stable pens were upgraded and are still in use today. In 1994 a purpose-built Education Centre opened it’s doors, with a new Council-funded part-time Education Officer post to staff it. The Farm’s ‘Pet Lodge’ followed in 1998, a major attraction for visitors which provides placements for teenage trainees to learn animal care skills. From 2006 a Horticultural Project, with produce stall has allowed many volunteers to learn new skills and gain work experience.
The Bristol-based Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG), of which Gorgie Farm has been a member for many years, opened a Scottish office within Gorgie Farm in 2006.