Covid: Lockdown hobby becomes life-changing business – BBC

When Chris Graves was diagnosed with a rare brain condition, he knew he needed to change his life.
The exhaustion of working three night shifts a week as a police custody officer was making his symptoms worse.
During lockdown Chris and his wife Donna began growing vegetables at home in Church Village, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Just over one year later they now supply tiny vegetables to a number of top restaurants in Wales.
What started as a hobby to help clear their heads soon developed into a real opportunity to improve their quality of life.
Micro Acres, a "vertical urban farm" in their garage, allows Chris to drop two of his night shifts and plan a future where the family can live more flexibly to manage his condition.
"I just want an easier more relaxing way [of life] and hopefully this is going to be it," said 49-year-old Chris.
Chris was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia in 2019, a condition that affects his co-ordination, balance and speech.
Doctors cannot predict how quickly his health will deteriorate and there is no known cure.
The couple have a teenage son to provide for and a mortgage to pay off so stopping work was not an option.
"We are living for the moment," says Donna, whose main job is a school teacher.
"We've been together 25 years. The thought that our quality of life may change dramatically, and it's out of our hands, is actually quite difficult."
Chris and Donna started their urban farm in a room which was only 2m (7ft) square, but demand has grown so much that they had to extend their garage four times.
Seed trays are stacked from floor to ceiling on shelves, with all-day lights and ventilation creating ideal conditions for growth.
The plants, including radish, pea shoots, kale, broccoli, garlic chives, mustard and spinach, are harvested soon after they have germinated into shoots.
The couple started off selling to friends but now supply wholesalers and restaurants across south Wales.
The vivid colours and intense flavours make the micro-greens popular as garnishes.
Chris and Donna think their way of growing food will be taken up by more people who want to eat what they grow and enhance their well-being – regardless of where they live.
"Hopefully, in the future, this gives us an alternative that not only benefits us in terms of our physical health, but also, hopefully, in terms of income," said Donna.
"I've always enjoyed growing vegetables, but never ever did I think it would come down to this. It's very therapeutic for me," added Chris, although he still laughs when he's described as a farmer.
"I've got a Barbour jacket and a flat cap, that's about it."
You can see more on this story on Wales Live on Wales Live on BBC iPlayer.
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