Inspirational Vron West from Normanton Allotment Association

Posted by Jennie Beck Oxfam Campaigning blogger

11th Apr 2013

In her role as Chairwoman, Vron supports and encourages others to work together and exchange ideas for growing food in a sustainable way.

There are around 65 allotments in Normanton, Derby, and their holders come from a wide variety of backgrounds and countries - including Poland, India, Serbia, Ireland, the West Indies and Pakistan. Vron works with all members of association to ensure that they work together as a community - including pooling of organic seeds which are sourced and shared amongst allotment holders.

Vron had first become interested in growing her own food whilst raising her family. They used to live in a house with a very large garden and so she began to grow her own vegetables instead of buying them.  Her passion for gardening had an impact on her children too - they have been interested in outdoors and animals and one of her daughters now works for Compassion in World Farming.

Her current role as a Chairwoman in the Allotment Association developed from her enthusiasm for growing her own food. She started with one rented allotment near her home in Derby while she was recovering from a breast cancer operation. She worked tirelessly through her illness and once she felt fit again, she took on a second plot!

Allotments in the area have heavy clay soil which needs the addition of lime and large amounts of compost, so looking after them it's not an easy work. Also, pests can cause havoc when you're trying to grow fruit and veg - however, Vron doesn't use any chemicals to get rid of bugs and beetles and her food is tastes great! She grows a wide variety of food including brassicas, beans and asparagus. Usually, she also has a full damson harvest from which she makes delicious jam. Her apple crop is turned into apple juice as well as cider. And she has great success with growing strawberries and raspberries too!

Vron is my Food Heroine because she is leading her community and encourages others to cooperate and contribute to a better food system while growing organic, sustainable and local food!

 Watch her in action in this short video telling you more in her own words.

Feel inspired by Vron's story? Look around in your area and you might find a similar Food Hero as well! Get in touch to tell us so that others learn about them too: oxfamnorthengland@oxfam.org.uk

There some ways you can get involved in sustainable and local food production - why not use Vron' s example and start growing your own food? Look at GROW Method for hints and tips about other little steps you can take.

Blog post written by Jennie Beck

Oxfam Campaigning blogger

More by Jennie Beck