How you helped this farm survive this year's bad weather
Tuesday, 28th November 2023 by Mathew Day
Bore Place Market Garden

What do you do when one of the wettest years on record ruins your crops? 

Bore Place Market Garden

Meet Metske Van Der Laan, steward of 6.5 acres of organic land nestled within Bore Place, a historic estate that is now a charity focused on regenerative farming. He grows your veggies in heavy clay soil that holds water well. Usually, your farmers relish the rain but this year we've had above-average rainfall. In fact, England and Wales experienced the wettest March in over 40 years. The soil at Bore Place retained a lot of this water… 

Eager to plant his crops, Metske diligently prepared the soil only to unintentionally create a formidable clay pan beneath the surface. This is a hardened layer of clay that sits under the surface of the soil. None of the plant’s roots were able to break through this hardened clay layer and access the nutrients below. 

It took Metske a couple of months to understand what had happened and by then the start of his growing year was radically affected.  

Flexible orders and friendly faces

Metske at Growing Communities Farmers' Market

Thanks to Growing Communities veg scheme members and visitors to the farmers' market, Metske’s season was not totally ruined.

Because of our short supply chain and close relationships with our farmers, the Better Food Shed, which supplies the Growing Communities veg box scheme, was able to buy anything Metske had in quantity. If you have had a lettuce in your veg bag this year then chances are it has come from Bore Place Market Garden.  

When we visited Bore Place, Metske told us he was incredibly appreciative of Growing Communities' custom. At the farmers' market he was able to sell produce in smaller amounts as well as engage directly with his loyal customers. He says talking and selling to GC customers every Saturday uplifted him when his weekly growing was not going quite as he would have liked.  

For people and planet 

cover crops at Bore Place Market Garden

We work with growers like Metske because they grow climate-friendly, environmentally sustainable food. They nurture the land through practices such as herbal leys and use cover crops to feed the soil and naturally sequester carbon. 

How you can support growers like Metske: 

Metske has now finished growing for this season but we can look forward to more of his produce in the spring.  

Meanwhile, you can directly support sustainable growers like Metske by joining us every Saturday at Growing Communities Farmer's Market or becoming a member of the Growing Communities Veg Scheme. When you invest in this community-powered initiative, you not only pay growers a fair, true cost for their produce but also contribute to a fair and sustainable wage for all - GC is proud to be a London Living Wage employer. Your conscious choices create a ripple effect that extends from the streets of London to the UK's organic smallholdings. 

Author name: 
Mathew Day