Dan is the Kitchen Garden People’s grower, responsible for managing the two acre fieldscale plot and polytunnels that comprise the FarmED Kitchen Garden.
Dan’s parents and grandparents were keen veg growers and encouraged Dan to take an interest in small scale horticulture. However, it was a few years before he pursued this professionally.
After graduating from Durham University, he worked in London in the insurance industry. Finding that the corporate life did not suit him and drawn more and more to the issues of sustainability, he went on to study for a masters in environment and business in Oxford. This wide ranging course covered sustainability and corporate social responsibility and lasted for the duration of two years, giving Dan time to explore different avenues. He became increasingly interested in the sustainable food and farming movement in Oxfordshire, in the early days of the Oxford Real Farming Conference, and the concept of community supported agriculture (CSA) really appealed to him.
Dan worked with North Aston Organics, and Sandy Lane Farm Shop, providers of organic vegetables and veg boxes, before going on to become a founder of Cultivate, in 2010. With a focus on ‘local, ethical and delicious food,’ Cultivate is all about bringing people together to create a better food system. Initially, Cultivate involved a market garden and local food shop and was recognised for its distinctive veg van which parked up in different locations, selling food directly from local farms.
Three years ago, after Dan moved with his young family to the Cotswolds, he set up the Kitchen Garden People with Emma Mills and Christine Elliott.
He describes harvesting the vegetables each week and seeing people receive their shares and get such great value for money from the CSA as the most satisfying elements of his work, as well as adapting to the vagaries of the weather, trialling new varieties and interacting with the community.