Reuben is one of the many growers operating out of Common Property and he lives with his partner in a converted cow shed on the farm. He has built himself a tiny house in the back yard and transports his crates in an electric van.
Reuben started at Common Property as a mistake! Sean, the farm manager, rang him and asked if he wanted to work next week at Common Property – Reuben was a bit surprised but needed some work so agreed then when Sean seemed surprised to see him, later discovered that Sean had rung the wrong Reuben!
His first job was working on a free-range pig farm. But he found farming animals inefficient – ‘you put so much in and don’t get that much out’. He was also interested in environmental issues and this led him to a plant-based diet.
Reuben started at Common Property as a teenager and was surprised at how much pleasure he got out of growing. So, with a few years experience under his belt and Sean’s support, he started his own business at Common Property. He now grows aubergines in a tunnel house and corn in the front field.
For him it’s not so much about the money – it’s the satisfaction of knowing you’re growing top quality food and that it will be enjoyed by the people cooking and eating it. When asked about the difference between his organic produce and conventional farming he says:
"A lot more work has gone into them, a lot more care, a lot more passion – and I’m proud of them. They’re clean and they only get sprayed with organic neem oil – it’s a susceptible crop and non-organic aubergines are usually sprayed a lot with chemicals. Growing them organically is hard, but it’s worth it."
This is his first season ‘It’s a lot more work than I expected – I don’t have much time for surfing – but it’s gradually paying off’. He plans to expand into pumpkin and garlic, tomatoes and cucumber and we just can't wait!