Illustration for Andi Chapple's food story

Hi – my name is Andi Chapple and I have recently started working on the National Lottery-funded ‘Closing Loops’ project here in Lancaster.

My earliest food memories are of, as they might be for you, arguing with my mum and nan about whether I’d eat what they’d given me. It’s one of the few advantages when you’re little – once you realise that the adults aren’t going to let you starve you can put some pressure on by saying you don’t want what’s offered.

Luckily for everyone, that phase didn’t last all that long. By late teenage years I was beginning to learn some basic cooking and developing an interest in food beyond what we ate at home. My friends and I used to go out for an Italian meal and think we were ‘it’ (this was Birmingham in the late ‘70s).

That interest in food and eating has stayed with me through my adult life. I just remembered that the first album from a band I was in in the ‘80s was called ‘food’. I think we were interested in how the human organism is fed by sounds, sights and ideas as well as what we eat. I was probably thinking a lot about ‘Nourishment’, hexagram 27 of the Yi Jing/I Ching, I was like that when I was young.

Gradually I became more interested in growing food plants. There is a feeling of achievement and safety about eating what you have grown and it tasting amazing. I had an allotment for a few years but no great success. These days, I volunteer at Claver Hill Community Farm at the top of the Ridge, it’s a great way to grow as there are people there to show you what to do.

About ten years ago, I started a job that included organising markets and I loved it – I’ve always liked markets, that blend of a shop and an event, and I really like the people who sell at them. So, I am very happy that my duties at Closing Loops include organising the Lancaster Seasonal Markets – Anna from Food Futures built these quarterly Friday markets up into something special before lockdown and we want to get them back to where they were. If you produce local, sustainable food or craft and want a stall, is my email – please get in touch! The next one is on 16 September.

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