Chris Elliott – Happy Acres

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Allotments are more than just spaces to grow food; they bring peace and motivation. Chris Elliot from Happy Acres turned his skills as a food technology and horticulture teacher into an inspirational resource for those who couldn’t leave their homes during the pandemic. His channel is full of practical tips on organising a plot on a budget, comparing digging and no-dig methods, making homemade fertilisers and improving the soil structure.

During the first lockdown, Chris created a series of videos for kids to try out at home, such as bird feeder making, repurposing tins as pots and growing food from scraps, anything that keeps kids motivated. His videos were an excellent resource for homeschooling parents, and Sheffield schools and youth groups widely shared his videos. When life took a sad turn and Chris’ dad passed away, it was the allotment that brought him peace again. A friendly robin, a symbol of hope, rebirth and loved ones who have left this world came to keep him company as he was struggling with a fence which, he says, his dad would have put up in ten minutes.

Suddenly, the allotment work became therapeutic; it gave him balance and a reason to get up. The need to help others fanned the flames of his passion, which led to collaborations with a food bank and creating new free and inspirational content. He has exciting plans for the future. Chris’ kindness and passion resonate, and as he says, “if just one person does something that I have shown them, then I have done my job”.

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Vegetable grower, natural beekeeper and edible spaces designer. Lover of all soil and urban farming techniques. Former head of growing at Incredible Aquagarden.