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Reflection time...

I woke up at 06:30 this morning, for no particular reason. I wouldn't normally ever wake up at that time unless I had specific plans that required me to. I'm not a morning person you see, and never have been. I'm a nocturnal creature, and have always done my best thinking and been at my most productive between the hours of say midnight and 2am. As a chef that's when you're at your most awake and alert, with the adrenaline still pumping through your veins after a busy evening service. It's been that way for over a decade. But my life is different now and I don't get that same adrenaline rush - well not from restaurant life anyway.

As I was up and there was no chance I'd get back to sleep, I thought I'd get out and water the garden as it was looking pretty thirsty. In my pyjamas and with hose in hand, I stood and contemplated. I thought about what the garden used to look like this time last year, before its transformation. I thought about how lucky I was to have an outdoor space in my own home in which to connect with nature, if only for a fleeting moment each day. I remembered how much work it had taken to get it from a disused baron wasteland to a flourishing and productive food growing space. In silent contemplation, I thought about a lot of things...

Just like my garden, I've seen a transformation in myself over the last year. Growing food for this project has drastically changed the way I view and interpret the natural world. Learning about plants and their life cycles has made me question everything I understood before taking on this challenge. Connecting with other urban food growers in Hackney, and getting into foraging has made me see things so differently. When I read a menu now the first thing I think is "I wonder who grew those aubergines, and where". I wonder if the person who wrote the menu has ever pondered the same question. I simply can't look at food in the same way I used to, and I see that as a positive as well as a hindrance. Sometimes I think way too much. One thing I do know is that this wonderful journey I'm on has and still is changing my mentality. Every single day. This is only the beginning...

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