Hi all, I’m Emma. I’ve recently graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a MA in Psychology and I joined the board of Cultivate Aberdeen back in early 2019 (I think?! – time flies!)
I grew up in several different places in and around Perthshire. Food is obviously a big part of everyone’s lives but more often than not, little attention is paid to what is in our food. That isn’t the case for me as I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease when I was about 7. This was a huge struggle at the time as CD wasn’t really a thing back then and restaurants certainly didn’t specifically cater for me; at best, I would get a jacket potato. Weirdly enough, I now I hate jacket potatoes. Anyway, my poor mum had to quickly adapt and make a lot of things from scratch, most of which weren’t the best (sorry mum!) as gluten free baking is notoriously difficult.
Anyway, fast forward to my late teens and I sorely missed all the foods I couldn’t have and started to try to make a lot of things myself; which is thankfully a lot easier now as more products are available. This awareness of what goes into my food is almost like a sixth sense as I can tell my looking at something if it has wheat or gluten in it. Whilst buying GF food is almost always easier, it certainly isn’t cheap- £2.80 for a loaf of bread. Shocking I know. So, that furthered my resolve to bake and cook most of my meals from scratch.
In my spare time, I can be found at the ice rink (hopefully it re-opens soon) or pottering about the house talking to my plants. I have such distinct memories when I was younger of visiting my Nana and Grandad and running outside to find my grandad out and about in his garden. He would on his knees for hours planting bulbs in anticipation of the coming spring. I never understood why you would plant bulbs when you could just buy some flowers instead. But sure enough, as quickly as I forgot about the bulbs, Spring would appear along with the crocuses, tulips, and daffodils. I think this is what sparked my interest in watching and nurturing something grow from essentially nothing to something beautiful. That interest is evident now as I write this watching my newly germinated avocado and mango seeds- something of an obsession during lockdown!
There is so much joy to be found from growing and it seems to be something that is getting lost as time goes on. Urban life develops and with that, new generations are being brought up in a world without easily accessible gardens or growing spaces. Our consumption of food is so high and with that, so too is our import of it. This is not helping our current climate change crisis and so it seems especially crucial that we help play a part in fostering local food growing schemes; not only because we have to, but because we should want to.