Reve en vert a sustainable life with interview robert mann regenerative gardener from London

Regenerative gardener and REV Editor @robertmanngarden

Robert's North London allotment

Reve en vert a sustainable life with interview robert mann regenerative gardener from London
Reve en vert a sustainable life with interview robert mann regenerative gardener from London

“I’m on a continual learning journey on how to cook entirely based on produce from the garden. My best ideas and greatest inspirations for recipes come to me when I’m sat in my vegetable garden.”

 

 

@robertmanngarden

Hello, I’m a regenerative gardener based in London. My passion is the wild green life our natural world is founded on. I am fascinated by growing plants, trees, fruit and vegetables, which is also derived from my love of wholesome and tasty food. With the years I’ve come to realise how important soil regeneration and chemical free food production is for our own health and wellbeing as it is for the protection and restoration of our natural environment.  

 

How does your day start? Tell us a bit about your morning routine. 

As a morning person, I love the freshness that comes with early mornings. I make a pot of fresh ginger (last summer I grew my own ginger in the greenhouse) tea with morning quiet time – journaling or meditation depending on what takes my fancy. If the weather is nice I would sit on my terrace and spend a few minutes being here with my thoughts about the day ahead. I find it the most refreshing and cleansing way to start my day – it’s something I learnt living in India.

 

How do you interact with nature when it comes to the food you grow/prepare/eat? 

As a regenerative gardener, I am always striving to sync my cooking fully into the seasons and what’s growing in the garden. I’m on a continual learning journey on how to cook entirely based on produce from the garden. My best ideas and greatest inspirations for recipes and meal planning come to me when sat in the vegetable garden.

 

Best part of your day in terms of food? 

Breakfast – hands down. Always a winner. I’ve always enjoyed and needed a good brekkie since I was a kid as I always wake up hungry. Usual breakfast is whole oats with kefir or oat milk or hot milk from the farmer’s market (season depending), bowl of fruit (seasonal, of course), then some eggs (we get delicious ones from a farm in Sussex) and toast, and plenty of hot strong Italian coffee. I truly cherish my moka pot.

 

 

 

 

Reve en vert a sustainable life with interview robert mann regenerative gardener from London

Favourite season or month for food and why?

Oh good one, almost impossible to choose! Mid August for the fruit – mulberries and greengages have to be my favourite. It’s the time of year when the light turns golden as high summer starts and it’s a graceful descent into autumn (it’s also my birthday time – so I’m slightly biased).

 

Where do you source your food from? 

I am very lucky to say that I mainly source from my own vegetable garden, but I am also a great lover and supporter of our local farmer’s market. We get really great organic veg from wonderful farms based in Sussex, Kent and Cambridgeshire – these farms are really trying to reset how food is produced here in the UK and the importance and joy of seasonal eating! 

 

If you garden, what is the hardest aspect of gardening and growing your own food that you didn’t foresee? How have you overcome it?

Planning. Timing in gardening is everything, yet every season is different – cold springs followed by hot early summers for example means you have to be on your toes constantly. Plan as you might, the changing weather (particularly the humidity and temperature) has a major impact on what you’ve planted and on the garden as a whole and at times you will need to update your plan as you go. I think that’s still the hardest challenge (that and stopping terror squads of savvy squirrels rooting out broad bean seeds).

 

If you garden, what are your favourite crops you are growing right now? What you would like to grow that you currently don’t?

This time of the year is always the leanest period. The green veg of winter is tempering out and we wait impatiently for the first picking of peas. Right now, asparagus (is almost in season) – is the veg. Sadly I still haven’t planted any yet, but I am working on it. It’s a labour of love.

 

 

 

 

Reve en vert a sustainable life with interview robert mann regenerative gardener from London

“Supermarkets have opened up our food knowledge and options, however they have also destroyed our connection to what’s in season or what’s grown in our region – just something to consider. Their convenience comes with a rather extraordinary environmental price.”

Who and or what is your guiding inspiration when it comes to food?

My Italian Nonna was and still is the guiding beacon in my cooking – she instilled in me a great love for the cuisine of southern Italy – using the freshest ingredients is key.

 

What’s an average weekday dinner for you?

Lots of fresh veggies – steamed, or big warm mediterranean style salads with lots of legumes, nuts and seeds.  

 

Favourite vegetable to cook with and why?

Too many! Freshly harvested tomatoes are a delight both into beautiful mozzarella and tomato salad or just cooked to soften with fresh pasta, spoonfuls of fresh ricotta and handfuls of basil.

 

As the sunset begins, how do you close your day?

Sundowners are the best! A glass of wine – I have been enjoying some biodynamic Malbecs from Spain this Winter. In the Summer months nothing beats refreshing goblets of gin cocktails or a chilled glass of an organic rose wine.

 

 

 

 

Best advice you have for someone looking to eat more sustainably?

Try your local farmer’s market – there you will for sure find local producers selling what’s being produced in the local region and what’s in season, you’ll pick it up just by going. Supermarkets have opened up our food knowledge and options, however they have also destroyed our connection to what’s in season or what’s grown in our region – just something to consider. Their convenience comes with a rather extraordinary environmental price. I also believe that you will never be able to enjoy things if they are always available; sometimes scarcity of things is the key to greater enjoyment.   

 

What are your latest efforts towards living a greener life?

This is a constant work in progress – switching over fully to green energy suppliers. Also lockdown life put me back on my bike. We all need to return to two wheels as much as we can.

 

In your opinion, what is the most important food item to make sure is organic?

Lettuces and spinach leaves – key stables – which are so much better for you and the environment if organic.

 

 

 

Reve en vert a sustainable life with interview robert mann regenerative gardener from London

Words by @robertmanngarden / Photos by @gracehallam

The Sustainable Kitchen Edit

shop all home

Feldspar fine bone china fruit bowl
Feldspar Studio
Cobalt Fruit Bowl
£150
Arkitaip handmade organic linen table napkins
Arkitaip
Organic Linen Napkin Set in Mocha (Made To Order)
£50
Feldspar fine bone china soap dish
Feldspar Studio
Gold China Butter Dish
£78
Thyme
Primrose Print Linen Napkin
£25
Feldspar studio handmade fine bone china cobalt blue cake stand
Feldspar Studio
Cobalt China Cake Stand (Made To Order)
£160
Feldspar studio handmade fine bone china gold pasta bowls set of 4
Feldspar Studio
Set of 4 Gold Pasta Bowls (Made To Order)
£185
Thyme
Primrose Print Linen Medium Tablecloth
£160

Related Editorial

See All Editorials

An Organic & Seasonal Spring Menu For Two

Read More

REV On Air: Sustainable Eating with Skye Gyngell of Spring & Heckfield Place

Read More

Search


Sorry, no results found. try searching for something else.

Close