My Story

My Story

Halema. Photo: Sara


Halema Begum, Seed Guardian, Selby Street Gardening Club

My name is Halema Begum and I live in Selby Street. I’ve lived in this country more than 25 years. I came from Bangladesh. I’m the mother of three children, I have two daughters and one boy, and I love to do gardening!

Why I grow my own food
It’s like joy! It’s your own products that you are eating, and you know there are no chemicals, you just grow organically. Organic food at the supermarket is really expensive. So even if I grow a little bit in my garden, at least I have some of my own produce here.

Why I save seeds
People can buy seeds from shops but I like to save and grow from my own seeds. I want to see then how they grow again.
And then more vegetables come and I save again. Because this is the way my mother and grandmother did it. They always saved their own seeds. They never bought from shops or anywhere. I think it’s a good idea, because you know your own seeds, how to grow them, what kind of soil they need, and from experience, you know the best way to do it.

Connection between growing and my heritage
In Bangladesh I was born and brought up in a village. I used to see the other people do farming. My grandfather, he loved to do farming. So I saw how he grew rice and beans. My mum and my grandma were always growing in the house. We had a big yard so they grow their kodu and beans. I didn’t join in when I was little but I saw the way they were growing vegetables. That’s why I love to do it.

Hear from Halema

How I feel when I work in the garden
I feel so happy and so relaxed. It’s like I’m in my own world. I’m digging and looking. And sometimes other people, our neighbours, they just come and give me advice or they just talk to me about themselves, their problems, and I’m just listening and doing my own work. It’s really nice.