Thomas Gleeson-Stanley

Agriculture Scholar

2019

The protected cropping industry is the field I see myself working in, into the future. Because of this, I want to explore the protected cropping industry in the United Kingdom and Netherlands. The UK and the Netherlands utilise some of the most advanced technology and largest protected cropping facilities to produce food and horticultural products.  

I became interested in protected cropping because of my love for sustainability and conservation of ecological systems. Sustainability has been my passion since childhood. I was brought up on a Sustainability Street which was a community led initiative dedicated to sustainable living and teaching children about sustainability and farming (my mum was one of the leaders in our suburb). As part of this movement I was interviewed by Katoomba local radio station to talk about sustainability and raising chickens as well as worm farming. Around this time, I started Warrimoo Public Schools vegetable garden with a friend and like-minded teacher. I helped build our family home which was built out of cob (mud and straw), building my room almost entirely so I could move in first.  

Now that I’m at university I have found that protected cropping is a much more sustainable cultivation method compared to conventional farming. I see this as the only method of growing food in the future, as we battle climate change and the necessity of reducing water, energy, transport, waste and nutrient run-off. 

The first introduction I got into controlled cultivation was a hydroponic grow tent I set up in my family home. Sounds dodgy I know but assure you I only ever grew vegetables and fruits in it! My lawyer mother kept a keen eye on it and even showed many of her friends including police prosecutors she knew. 

I now run my own small gardening and landscape company called Verde Foodscapes and Gardens as well as working part-time in the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre. In the protected cropping centre, I help maintain the crops and record data.  

I ultimately would like to reach the point where I can run my own glasshouse cultivation system, but that is down the track. In the next five to ten years I plan to become a grower for a large commercial cultivation company herein Australia called Green Camel.

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