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Monday, 11 March 2013

THIS WEEK: the good life at The Edible Garden Show

Jenna Jack 
of The Warwickshire Chicken Coop
(image copyright JJ) 

There's a new pecking order for a business woman who gave up her job to become a “country bumpkin”, say the organisers of the 2013 Edible Garden Show, which returns for three days this week to Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire from  Friday 15th March to Sunday 17th. The venue - formerly home to The National Agricultural Society - is situated just north of Royal Leamington Spa. (Text that follows is reproduced from a press-release supplied by the organiser's PR agency.)

"Jenna Jack swapped her high heels for wellies and ditched the office for the open air when she launched a new venture selling everything you need to keep chickens in your back garden or allotment.

One year on she couldn’t be happier with her transformation from high-powered business professional to 'country bumpkin' and is celebrating the first anniversary of her company, ‘The Warwickshire Chicken Coop’, at The Edible Garden Show, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire from 15-17 March. Jenna, who sells around 200 hens a month to members of the public from her base in Ettington near Stratford-Upon-Avon, will be taking dozens of her pure breed and hybrid hens along to the show – the only national event dedicated to ‘grow-your-own’.

Jenna says: “We sell our hens to people from all walks of life throughout Warwickshire and the surrounding counties. Sometimes they are in their early 30s like me and they want to keep a few chickens as pets, and for the eggs of course, others are families or grandparents who buy for themselves or for their grandchildren. There is a real mixture of people.”

For Jenna, her new life couldn’t be further from her busy marketing career but she has no regrets about swapping the business suits for jeans and working outside. She says: “I’m very happy living as a country bumpkin. I wanted to step out of my busy marketing career and into a profession which explores ‘the good life’ and self-sufficiency."

“I sometimes miss human company and having a conversation about TV by the coffee machine but I love the outdoor life. My partner Jonathan is a farm manager and much more interested in cows and sheep but he is very supportive of my business. I have always been an animal person and have kept chickens for a number of years now and find them so easy to keep and look after. They are a fantastic source of amusement – and, of course, fresh eggs! I wanted to combine my business knowledge with doing something I loved and Warwickshire Chicken Coop was born.”

The trend for keeping chickens has grown over 800% in the past few years and continues to grow. The desire for self sufficiency and the ease of looking after chickens has contributed to the boom. Warwickshire Chicken Coop sells ‘everything you need to be friends with your hens’ including health, husbandry and hygiene products as well as a range of feed, treats and accessories and the popular Omlet housing. The business is the only operation of its kind in Warwickshire that offers a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about keeping chickens.

Jenna is devoted to the welfare and happiness of her hens and says: “All our chickens go through a thorough vaccination programme before they are sold on. We are so confident in the health of our hens that every bird comes with a guarantee and a lifetime of advice. There is nothing more important to us than the health and happiness of our chickens”

Jenna will be selling her hens in the Smallholder Marquee at The Edible Garden Show. The event is bursting with fabulous exhibitors, innovative products, chickens, goats and pigs, tasty cookery demonstrations and dynamic talks from a panel of celebrity experts including award winning TV presenter James Wong, Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Bob Flowerdew and author and TV presenter Alys Fowler. Tickets are £12 in advance (£15 on the door) with concessions for seniors and children. Call the ticket hotline on 0844 338 8001 or visit www.theediblegardenshow.co.uk

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