'Growing her own': the green-fingered Anna Greenland

Anna Greenland, 28, is passion about ‘growing her own’ and has won a place on a top horticultural course in America

"To me, there is nothing more magical than seeing the first seeds of the season poking through the earth," says Greenland. "Every year is different and filled with hope – you can forget any crop failures from the year before and start afresh. It's a constant learning curve.

"I love connecting with the natural world around me. There is something very healing and therapeutic about digging over a patch of land or getting your hands into the soil.

"I have no formal training in horticulture... yet, just hands-on experience. In 2006, I worked with a cooperative of organic growers at Buttervilla Farm in Cornwall, growing produce for Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall restaurant. I had to waitress in the evenings at Fifteen in order to support myself, but this meant that I was able to actually serve customers food I had grown. The dishes were always so beautifully prepared by the chefs, and seeing people enjoy my produce made the process all the more gratifying.

"I then joined the team at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, working as a gardener on the vegetable garden and liaising with the garden's restaurant to ensure that the best was made of the produce in the kitchens. I also ran a small market garden selling organically grown cut flowers to Fifteen, a local deli and markets.

"I come from a long line of gardeners – my grandma is 87 and still gardening! However, it wasn't until I met Robert Hocking from Buttervilla Farm that I became totally hooked. I was really inspired by what those guys were achieving in Cornwall and wanted to be a part of it.

"I'm currently studying for my RHS Level 2 qualification – it's a great foundation to have when embarking on a career in horticulture. I've sort of done things back to front by working first and then getting qualified.”

Greenland has been shortlisted for the current round of Great Britons (for which public voting is taking place now), a programme run by British Airways to celebrate The London 2012 Games. BA, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, is looking for people who need support to develop their talent in the areas of community, sport, fashion, performing arts, innovation, and art and design. The winners get flights to BA destinations anywhere in the world, and Greenland hopes to win flights to California so she can attend the University of Santa Cruz to study ecological horticulture.

"The course is highly respected and forward thinking. It’s also very competitive – there are only about 40 places," she says. "The students are involved in cultivating a 25-acre farm and three-acre garden, as well as doing classroom studies, so it's very hands on. The course has been running since 1967, and students have gone on to do some really inspiring things.

"I wanted to experience a different culture and different growing conditions, but the disadvantage is the expense of it all – that's why I've entered Great Britons. It is expensive to study abroad and a free flight would really help me.

"I plan to take the knowledge I gain on the course and teach others how to grow produce in a sustainable way. I hope to be able to work on community projects, training future generations in the practices of organic-food production.

"Growing organically helps to safeguard our environment for future generations. It revolves around cultivating a healthy soil, rich with nutrients and free from pesticides and artificial fertilisers. This, in turn, produces healthy crops, healthy people and an all-round healthier planet.

"By voting for me in Great Britons, hopefully people are acknowledging the fact that we need to take care of our planet and grow our food in a sustainable way. I feel very proud – and greatly encouraged – that others recognise the importance of what I am doing."

SEE ANNA GREENLAND'S PROFILE



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum