Sinead Fenton is a passionate and engaging young farmer growing edible flowers, organic vegetables and herbs on her 4.5-acre smallholding in Arlington, East Sussex with her partner Adam.
Sinead is not from a farming background, she was born and raised in Newham in East London with no real access to the world of farming. It wasn’t until Sinead left London to study a degree in Exploration Geology at Leicester University that she began to find her love of the natural world. Through her degree and work in the area of Geology, she was able to travel the world to places like Greenland, Mongolia and Armenia which introduced her to a whole new world of food, culture and landscapes and she fell in love with nature.
Sinead returned to London and was working in food policy communications for the Food Research Collaboration when she and her partner discovered a community allotment in East London and decided to volunteer. They both learnt a huge amount about edible flowers, foraging and unusual forgotten varieties of vegetables during this time. They found their footing here, learning on the go to the point where in 2017 – they began running the allotment themselves, naming it Audacious Veg. Sinead started posting their fruit, veg and edible flowers on Instagram where they caught the attention of several London restaurants who asked if they could buy some of their produce to use in their dishes. This escalated to into a business supplying to many of London’s top restaurants which in turn led Sinead and Adam to believe they could potentially turn their passion into a career.
In 2019, they met the Ecological Land Coop who offered the chance to purchase an ex-arable 4.5 acre field on a mortgage scheme. This gave Sinead and Adam the chance they would never have otherwise had to take the leap into full time farming!
At the beginning of 2020, Sinead and her partner uprooted their city lives and moved into a caravan on the land they have named Aweside Farm, just days before the Covid-19 Lockdown began. They have spent their first year on the farm transforming the land into a space that will allow wildlife and people to thrive. They have planted 3700 trees and new hedgerows to create areas full of edible trees and shrubs – this has seen the return of wildlife like grass snakes, nesting birds, toads, dragonflies, badgers and much more. They will be continuing to specialise in edible flowers and heritage vegetables to supply to restaurants both in Sussex and in London. Sinead has also began setting up Aweside Food Project C.I.C which is a social enterprise seeking to address food inequality by improving access to land and access to nutritious organic food whilst also providing training, volunteering and employment opportunities for people wanting to get into farming and horticulture. Sinead has been documenting their journey, through all the Covid complications, extreme weather conditions and learning points on their Instagram account. These diaries show how eloquent, engaging, fun and inspiring Sinead is and we are sure her future lies on bigger screens!
Sinead’s passion for growing is all about celebrating the amazing diversity of our natural and living world. This process has ignited a love for wildlife and an understanding for the need to regenerate our landscapes to create thriving and nurturing environments for all living beings.
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