top of page
Writer without portfolio
Writer without portfolio

Seeds of Hope


It’s the new year and we’re still the same old people – no new year, and no you reinvention. Which is a good thing, as if we were all brand new, where would the old us be? Whilst we may feel the need to reinvent, what is more realistic is to work on doable goals for 2024.

Winter can be a drudge as we wait, wait, wait, for the days to get longer and lighter. The warmth won’t come for a few months yet, however we can get planning for it. As a Leither, one of the most empowering things I’ve learned recently is the power of organic growth. That is both as a business owner and as an urban gardener. There is so much potential around, any patch of bare earth can bear fruit (brambles count!).

At the end of last summer husband Andy and I visited Lynbreck Croft in the Highlands for their day-long ‘Living Off the Land’ course that included bee-keeping, chickens, kitchen garden, animal husbandry and tree planting. It was a total inspiration, so I was chuffed to keep in touch with farmers Lynn and Sandra. Every big move is a culmination of mini-steps. Here’s their story:

“Nearly a decade ago, my partner and I quit our jobs and moved to Scotland, desperately trying to escape the busyness of the south east of England for a more tranquil life where we could reconnect and rebuild our relationship with a more natural, seasonal pace of living. It was all very bucolic and perfect in our minds.

After two years of searching, we bought a small croft and moved to the Cairngorms. The day the deal was done and we arrived at Lynbrook Croft, it felt like our ‘New Year’. A moment in history we were looking forward to as a point in our lives when everything would change for the better. This was it. From this day on life would be perfect. We had arrived at the dream. It took just 24 hours for that whole mirage to disappear, the storm clouds of life gathering above us as the thunder of reality began to rumble. Those resolutions we had made for big life changes blew away like leaves on a windy day, as reality hit us like a lightning strike. We had no idea what we were in for and no real clue where to start. Nearly eight years on, we can look back and reflect on that ‘New Years Day’ from a much happier and healthier place.

Lynbreck has been transformed into a vibrant and diverse hub where food grows in abundance, nature thrives and people come to experience and learn from what we do, leaving with full hearts and minds. The storm of eight years ago has weakened its grip as more sunny days punctuate the grey.

Whilst many marvel at the big achievements and hard work, the real change has come from the micro shifts we’ve made in our own lives, where the biggest life lesson has come from learning how to farm successfully.”

Find your ‘Ikigai’, it’s a simple word but a powerful concept. Ikigai is a Japanese phrase for your purpose, your calling, your mission.

Daydream a little, what would you like the change to be? Could you be the change yourself? It might take a little work, but starting small at the start of the year could lead to bigger changes down the line.

For instance, by the end of 2024, I should have an RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) certification in Plant Horticulture. Though in truth, I have no idea what I’ll do with it.

My hope is for Griffen Fitness to adopt and help maintain a Leith Walk planter (specifically the Arthur Street box), and to grow more sunflowers in unexpected places. I’m not sure why, it just seems like the right thing to do at the moment...

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and Lynn and Sandra approached the “learn how to be regenerative crofters” situation methodically and with open minds.

It’s okay to work things out as you go along. We might not know all there is to know about growing food, but we can all at least try, and see what happens.

With the publication of Our Wild Farming Life (Chelsea Green Publishing £18.99), Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer have produced the roadmap for those who wish to follow in their footsteps.

We too can sow the seeds of hope. ■

X: @tracygriffen

X: @lynbreck_croft


Lynbreck Croft and Lynn & Sandra


Lynn and Sandra have produced the roadmap for those who wish to follow in their footsteps


I'm a paragraph. I'm connected to your collection through a dataset. Click Preview to see my content. To update me, go to the Data

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.


I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Xyxyyxyx xyxyxyyxyxy xyxyxyxy


bottom of page