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Food & Garden
Regenerative Farming in the UK: A Day in the Life of Roots Farmer
Following our incredible podcast conversation with Leah Penniman, we were keen to learn more about regenerative farming and how this can be done a little closer to home. In this editorial we chat to London based regenerative farmer, Roots Farmer all about how he gardens sustainably in the UK and the importance of eating organic.
“I’m blessed that our market garden is really off grid and surrounded by ancient woodland, so I am fully immersed in nature when growing and picking our vegetables.”
How does your day start? Tell us a bit about your morning routine.
I am a single father of two sons, so may day starts with getting them up and seeing them off to school. As soon as they have gone, I jump in the car and drive an hour up to the field where the market garden is.
How do you interact with nature when it comes to the food you grow, prepare, and eat?
I’m blessed that our market garden is really off grid and surrounded by ancient woodland, so I am fully immersed in nature when growing (and picking) our vegetables. We share the land with a herd of 20 deer, rabbits, many types of birds and insects. I love that about it!
What is the best part of your day in terms of food?
I love lunch, as I have learned in the last few years to eat a much lighter lunch than I used to. I used to eat carbs for lunch and then want to sleep! I changed that to eat salads full of goodness and it just gives me so much energy!
Favourite season or month for food and why?
Summer time, as I love a BBQ!
Where do you source your food from?
I don’t eat meat, only veg…so I grow all my own organic food.
What is the hardest aspect of gardening and growing your own food that you didn’t foresee? How have you overcome it?
The hardest thing about growing food at the market garden is finding products that are suitable for our approach of no-waste, no-dig and no animal product farming. Many of the products that are used (even by organic regenerative gardeners) are plastic so finding alternative solutions where possible is very challenging.
What are your favourite crops you are growing right now? What you would like to grow that you currently don’t?
I love kale and sweet peas! I would love to grow tropical food that is indiginious to regions like the Caribbean, but they just won’t grow here in the UK.
What is your guiding inspiration when it comes to food?
The principles of a Rastafari diet, Ital, have a big influence on my attitude to food. Rastas are the original vegans.
What does a typical weekday dinner look like for you?
I love a vegetable pasta (I choose wheat-free pasta) for dinner – simple and quick! When I’ve got the energy, I cook up a big curry.
Favourite vegetable to cook with and why?
I use a lot of spinach and kale, as they seem to go with most dishes, taste great, and are super foods.
As the sunset begins, how do you close your day?
Netflix and herbal tea.
What is the best advice you have for someone looking to eat more sustainably?
We will all be forced to eat sustainably in the future so you might as well get with the program now and learn what a wonderful thing it is!
What are your latest efforts towards living a greener life?
Building an off-grid sustainable regenerative market garden.
In your opinion, what is the most important food item to make sure is organic?
Anything without a skin or shell is vital that you make sure it’s organic. Eating non-organic leaf or root vegetables is so bad for our health. But overall, 100% of what we eat should be organic.