When I was a kid, much of family life happened around our kitchen table. From a young age I felt the importance and specialness of sharing food with people. In secondary school my work experience was on a farm-cum-education centre and it was there that I first felt the joy of hard physical work that is shared with others. Later at university I had a job on the campus’ farm, where again I felt the vitality of working outdoors with other people. We talked whilst we worked in a way that bound us, and the vegetables that grew mesmerised me. Between then and now, I’ve felt quite a lot of confusion and indecision about what I wanted to do with my days, but knew that I had to revisit vegetable growing at some point to see if that’s where my passion might lie. It has been almost three years now, and I’ve never felt as fulfilled (and tired!) or as driven.
Both of my parents grew up on family farms, one arable and one dairy, but both left the countryside for the city, to study and later work in film and television, which is how they met. I wasn’t close to either of my grandfathers, and I’m sure we would have had somewhat differing visions of farming, but two generations later, I feel a sense of history and belonging in returning to the work of my grandparents — to the work of many of our grandparents.
Growing food feels like a practice that attends to the multiplicity of life. There is so much to learn from the abundance, diversity and intricacy of nature, and so much to think about and strive for when it comes to working towards cultures of food production that are just, equitable and regenerative. In short — I’m in deep and here for the long haul.