Lutfun Hussain, Seed Guardian, Spitalfields City Farm
My name is Lutfun Hussein. I started here in 1999 as a volunteer and began working as the Healthy Eating Coordinator in 2000, originally it was called Ethnic Minority Support Worker. I work with the Coriander Club, which is a gardening club. People come and help me with gardening, planting seeds, whatever I need. I teach people how to garden. Every month I also run healthy cooking workshops. In my register there are 27 women. I give them some fresh vegetables that they can share with their families.
Why I grow my own food
I came to this country from Bangladesh in 1969. In that time you couldn’t find fresh Bangladeshi vegetables. I missed the taste of the fresh food we used to eat: kodu, lablab, amaranth. I tried at home to grow some but I wasn’t successful because of the weather. In the first year all the plants died. I tried again and again. The weather is different in Bangladesh. This is the way I learnt. With the weather.
Why I save seeds
There are many of types of kodu. You need to know which one you are growing, which one is good. Same with beans and amaranth. If you keep your seed, you know which kinds of seed you kept. It’s organic. You know it’s good seed. If you buy in the shop you don’t know how old it is, and how quickly it will germinate. My seed germinates quickly.
How I feel when I work in the garden
I feel healthy. I enjoy growing and cooking. Other people enjoy when I share with them. When people appreciate what I do, it inspires me to grow more. I take part in many growing competitions, and I have won lots of trophies and certificates. I feel happy and proud.
Hear from Lutfun
Connection between growing and my heritage
The vegetables we eat are connected to our culture. I love Bangladesh and I feel proud when I grow my country’s vegetables. When the community sees the vegetables from Bangladesh growing here they show their children and feel proud. Even people from other cultures appreciate it, and ask me how to grow and cook. I feel a connection to the village where I grew up when I see these vegetables freshly cut. I am proud that I am the first to grow these vegetables from Bangladesh successfully in London, and it gives me good memories.