The ‘Polycrub’ concept started life as part of a Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC) community project in 2008. Our community was keen to reduce food miles and grow more fresh produce undercover, but we couldn’t find a product that would withstand the Shetland climate long-term. So, we developed our own!
NCDC had been approached to find an alternative use for redundant equipment from the aquaculture industry which, at that time, was either being sent to landfill, or littering shorelines. We incorporated the waste materials in the design of our hoops and we also gave our structures a super-strength, polycarbonate cover.
Grant aid from the Climate Challenge Fund allowed us to pilot the build of 12 growing spaces in our community in Northmavine, Shetland. Each building was split into shared plots and almost 50 people in our community were able to grow undercover.
Once our community growing project was complete, it attracted lots of interest from other community groups and individuals who wanted to buy our design. We branded the structures as the ‘Polycrub’ and we now sell them in kit form as far away as France and the Falklands.
The Polycrub company trades as nortenergy Ltd, a successful social enterprise. We are a trading arm of NCDC, a charity that works alongside local people to regenerate and develop Northmavine. Our profits are reinvested in Northmavine, by supporting community-based projects.
Polycrubs are now popular with individual growers who need a robust growing space. Many schools and community groups have been able to access grant funding for Polycrub growing projects. Crofters and farmers with plans for crofting diversification could also be eligible for funding support through the agricultural grants system.
Our range includes Peerie Polly, a 3m wide Polycrub; Polycrub Classic, a 4m wide version and Polycrub Opyl, a 4m wide structure, suitable for storage or small livestock and poultry. Each range comes in a variety of lengths.