Glebelands concentrates on leafy and salad crops where freshness is most marked: we were able to cut for sale at Unicorn Grocery- less than 2 miles away - the same day. What we lost in smaller scale, we tended to make up in higher value crops.
We use well-established techniques such as on site composting, crop rotation and green manure crops to maintain soil fertility and plant health, but also more cutting edge techniques to extend the season whereever possible.
This includes the use of horticultural fleece, mesh covers, polytunnels and drip irrigation lines. The environmental cost of synthetic materials is currently considerably less than truck impact from Spanish and other origins. One of our best friends, David Brown (the tractor), is also critical to production!
Typical crops include Kale, Broad Beans, Courgettes, Cucumbers, Squashes, Basil, Parsley, Chard and Spinach, as well as leaf salad.
The main UK season focuses on June to October (due to climatic limitations, mainly low light levels), but we specialise in producing salad right through the colder, darker months. We have grown up to 15 types of salad leaf, according to the time of year, such as the Oriental Brassicas Mizuna, Namenia, various Mustards which can survive, even thrive, in the winter lower light levels, plus carrot leaf and various types of chicory and endive
All our produce is grown to Soil Association standards
At Glebelands we saw an improvement in the ecological life around the three acres - butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, hedgehogs, birds, etc. showing that this richer life can co-exist with commercial food production and surrounding suburbia.
Despite many words on the subject, local food production and commercial urban farming are still rare in the UK. Rising oil prices mean this will be a model we shall all be returning to, and looking at fertile and traditionally productive area of land such as the Mersey Valley
More about Glebelands and Unicorn in an article by Andy Jones: The Glebelands - Unicorn Model, a Cooperative Approach to Sustainable Urban Food Supply