Sally and her husband Adrian own Empire Farm, an organic farm in Somerset.
Sally is a botanist by training and when not helping on the farm or running courses, she writes articles and non-fiction books. She has written more than 300 books to-date, on a wealth of subjects, including natural history, science, and geography. She is editor of Organic Farming magazine published by the Soil Association and writes regularly for CountySmallholder magazine. Her latest book, Living on an acre or less, was published by Green Books in 2016.
Sally is an avid gardener, growing her first plants at the tender age of 5, and was encouraged by both grandfathers who were keen vegetable growers. On moving to a 3-acre smallholding in Hampshire, her dream of keeping animals was realized and soon she had a menagerie of chickens, ducks, geese and a few sheep. A few years later, a visit to Rosemary Verey’s potager at Barnsley House led to development of a new kitchen garden. A lack of space (common on all smallholdings!) resulted in the move to Empire Farm.
Although the farm has 100 acres, Sally works on about 15 acres, leaving the rest to be grazed by a flock of sheep owned by a local farmer. Her main focus is her walled garden and a one-acre-plot with a polytunnel, vegetable growing areas, a perennial vegetable plot, a small orchard and fruit cage and several livestock pens. She loves to grow unusual vegetables and experiments all the time with new techniques.
Sally gives talks on smallholding and growing on small spaces. She was guest speaker at the Edible Garden Show and the Welsh Spring Festival. She also provides consultancy on smallholding matters.