Darren Roberts- Warland Eco Growing

Walsden, West Yorkshire, UK

Growing up in the Lake District and following his Grandad and Dad’s footsteps, Darren Roberts was acquainted with the magic of growing and caring for the land. Hearing stories of the smallholding his dad grew up on, he understood how production methods impacted the flavour of produce. Darren developed an interest in science, especially biology, and trained as a geneticist, but underlying it all was an interest in problem-solving. During the first lockdown, he took up wood carving and was told to visit a local community project nearby at Warland Farm, where he was quickly drawn into food production. The farm strives to teach traditional crafts and develop a sustainable, environmentally-friendly model for small growing ventures. There are over 30 acres of land, but only about 1.5 acres are currently used for food production, with the terrain on a sloping valley side. Darren’s passion for problem-solving seems to be fulfilled by developing examples of how locals can grow food at various scales and in multiple situations. He’s made small self-watering beds up to a one-acre forest garden and is currently building a duck house, which will heat the greenhouse during the winter and have a built-in food dryer and living roof. You can buy produce at the farm gate, and the farm offers many public events and workshops, from Equinox celebrations to permaculture design courses.

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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.