Last weekend saw a congregation of organic growers descend on the Sussex town of Westham near Eastbourne, for the Organic Growers’ Alliance annual general meeting. After a delicious lunch provided by Hankham Organics (and the local chip shop, yum), we managed to get through all the necessary paperwork in almost record time – only over-running by 15 minutes. Then it was time to leave the memorial hall and head over to Hankham Organics for 5pm, for the much-antipicated part of the day: a tour of the huge glasshouse, followed by social round the fire and more delicious food, barbecue and salads.
I hadn’t been to Hankham since visiting on a seminar trip as part of my Future Growers apprenticeship seven years ago, but could remember how amazing the glasshouse was; and the water reservoir and sand filter system, to provide the glasshouse with rainwater irrigation (using mains during busy and dry periods). Although my polytunnels are producing salad well now, and I’ve already cleared out some bolted over-wintered salads to make way for new crops such as early carrots and radishes, it’s still awesome to see so much produce at this time of year. Hankham has also now taken on more (outdoor) land out the back since then, to add more field-scale veg to their box scheme and wholesale deliveries later in the season. It was great to catch up with fellow growers and swap stories and tips; followed by some sea air at Eastbourne and Beachy Head the day after, before the long drive back to the south west.