Why Adam would be an effective mentor
- Welsh-learner Adam moved to West Wales in 2010 to set up Glebelands Market Garden, a farm shop selling seasonal crops from an eight-acre organic site near Cardigan. His plan was to build on the pioneering, suburban market-garden model which he and a business partner ran between 2001 and 2009 in Manchester.
- Prior to Glebelands Mk I, in 1996 Adam had set up Unicorn Grocery Ltd in Manchester. Today, it remains one of the largest independent retailers of organic foodstuffs in the UK, offering organic, locally sourced fruit and vegetables and fair-trade deli products. The company’s philosophy is to work with UK producers to promote a seasonal, cost-effective diet, accessible to all.
- Although from a non-farming background, Adam has experience of all the management, financial, staffing and planning issues associated with setting up and running food retail and horticulture businesses and is also used to assessing loan applications and management accounts in the co-op sector.
- Glebelands Market Garden has continued to grow steadily, now providing year-round employment and enjoying a strong local profile. Open to the public four days a week, Adam grows a wide range of seasonal crops supported by root vegetables and fruit from other regional growers which are also sold to restaurants, shops and other local businesses.
- An ardent advocate of sustainable food production, Adam is determined to leave the soil richer and deeper than when he started out. He says the soil is ultimately powered by the sun and composted waste, via nitrogen-fixing plans such as clover and vetch, aided by the temperate climatic conditions of West Wales.
- Adam is happy to offer advice to those setting up market garden or other food production ventures and believes that the current energy and fuel crisis and input constraints will make this type of enterprise increasingly important. A good listener and communicator, he will encourage you to talk honestly and openly about your expectations of ‘growing’ a horticulture or diversification enterprise!
Current farm business
- 8 acre organic site near Cardigan growing seasonal leafy greens and a wide range of vegetables
- Glebelands Market Garden Farm Shop
- 10,000 sq ft polytunnels and field-scale irrigation
- 11 full and part time employees
- BEC National Diploma in Business Studies
- B.Sc Human Ecology 2.1 (Huddersfield Poly)
- More than 20 years of experience setting up, managing and marketing ‘food related’ businesses
- A Welsh learner, Adam speaks rudimentary Welsh.
Top tips for business success
“Horticulture is challenging, so don’t try and run ‘too fast, too soon’; set realistic expectations and do what you do well first. Only grow or diversify your business once you have the confidence, right expertise and certainty that the market is ready for what you are selling.”
“Do your research and surround yourself with experienced, knowledgeable people - colleagues working together for a common purpose are a powerful force.”