Jennifer’s story of change written by Jennifer Kingsley

“I initially started growing my own food following my mother who took it up when she retired. I also weeded the garden as a child and my father grew vegetables on his allotment and in our garden. I remember him growing turnips in our front garden and hearing my mother say ‘what will the neighbours think!’ “

“When I moved north to Lancaster, I rented an allotment behind my neighbour’s garden. I happily fed my teenage children with my produce for several years. However, I gave up my allotment just before it became popular on television. It made me sad that I no longer had my plot but I was working full time, my family had left home and it was no longer practical.”

“Then one day I met Kathy Barton at St Thomas’s church and she talked very enthusiastically about Claver Hill. I just failed to ask her where and what it was!”

“Then one day I was in Market Square in Lancaster and got chatting to Norman on a Claver Hill market stall (Norman was featured in the autumn 2022 copy of Thrive Magazine). I told him where I lived and he replied ‘I know you do. You lived next door to my sister’!”

“Yes, for six months only 35 years earlier! I was amazed that Norman remembered me.”

“As a result of this conversation with Norman I ventured down to Claver Hill where I stayed helping out for two years.”

“I loved the gardening and eating the fresh vegetables that we had grown, but then Covid hit. I had already sold my car and health issues impacted me and so I stopped going to Claver Hill regularly.”

“However, since then I have saved flower seeds for the Lancaster Seed Library. These are free to anyone that wants them – through the seed library cabinet in Lancaster’s central library and via the Sew and Sow libraries around town. I also try to support Claver Hill in other ways by buying jam and chutney and visiting the site when an event is happening.”

“Claver Hill is such a friendly place with many helpful people involved. I can recommend it to anyone that fancies growing food – whether they have tried it before or not.”

For more information about Claver Hill visit: claverhill.org.uk

If you would like to share your story of change around sustainable food, please email marketing@lessuk.org

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