Growers and glasshouse businesses in the Lea Valley take centre stage in a new film, showcasing vital horticultural work.

The 23-minute film, The Cucumber Capital of Britain, has been produced by Lea Valley Growers Association, 60 years after the group produced their last film, Sea of Glass, was made.

Lea Valley growers produce over 80 million cucumbers and 70 million peppers a year, around 75 per cent of the UK crop.

LVGA Secretary Lee Stiles said: “We wanted to create a living archive, featuring interviews with the growers themselves for the first time. The film reflects what the industry feels at this point, particularly around Brexit, and about growers’ concerns for the future.

“Provision of labour was one of the issues highlighted by pretty much everyone in the film, as the Lea Valley needs around 2,000 staff a year just to maintain existing facilities.

“We have been asking Europeans to come and work in the glasshouses since the 1950s and, without them, many businesses would have to scale back production or consider relocating. Robotics and artificial intelligence for actually picking the crop is still decades away so this is one of the real issues we are facing at the moment.

“But the film is also very much a celebration of an area that is the cucumber capital of England, that is hugely important for pepper, tomato and ornamental growing and which is producing more food than ever before with the help of cutting-edge technology.”

The LVGA hopes the film will help to recruit staff to the industry, demonstrate the incredible value of horticultural production in the Lea Valley.

Lee Stiles said: “We have a great opportunity to displace about 40 per cent of British food imports by investing in British growers, by investing in infrastructure and technology - to get more from less.”