'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
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

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test