Lisa Lueaffat, Seed Guardian, Wilton Estate Community Garden, Hackney
Last year was the first year I got an allotment bed to grow, and I went mad. I had about thirty something different varieties going in that one little plot.
Why I grow my own food
Once I started the garden, I had to buy very few vegetables and I’ve dropped ten kilos over the year. Sometimes I spend five to eight hours on my days off in the garden. So it’s one way to lose weight. I control what I actually eat. Even my doctor is saying my health is much better this year. I know there are no pesticides in it. And cucumbers that come off the vine, that you’ve just picked, are so crunchy! The radishes last year didn’t make it out of the polytunnels because I ate them. They were delicious. Lovely, spicy, peppery. You don’t get that in the ones from the supermarket.
Why I save seeds
The seeds I save I know exactly what plant they come from. I’m not particularly fond of the hybrids and whatnot, because some of them, you’re not exactly sure what they’ve done to them. I like the heritage stuff. We have lost a lot of heritage varieties because people stopped growing them. With these commercial one, all they need is one thing and it’ll wipe out the whole lot. And there’s nothing saved, no backup.
Connection between growing and my heritage
My grandmother grew up in the country so they always planted their own food. They didn’t have money to buy stuff so everything was grown. They had a big garden, so their job as kids was to plant and take care of it. They saved their own seeds because they were too expensive to buy. When they opened a pumpkin they’d take all the seeds out and dry them. They saved the corn to grow the next year. They saved seeds from peas. They grew pigeon peas, black eye peas, red beans. What they were accustomed to eating they grew, and they saved the beans for the next year to grow. So they didn’t really buy much of anything.
Hear from Lisa
How I feel when I work in the garden
Ah, relaxed. No pressure, no nothing. I just enjoy the fresh air, the insects, when anybody passes, I stop and talk to them, encourage them, show them what I’m doing.