Kester Muller quizzes Joris Gunawardena, the director of Sutton Community Farm, London’s most productive community food-growing space.
By Kester Muller
Aug 2, 2018
You Used To Work As A Chef. What Inspired Your Move Into Food Growing?
I’ve always loved food. In restaurants the beauty created is so ephemeral. By working in small scale agriculture I get to combine my passion for great food with a range of interesting social issues from physical and mental health to global warming and food security.
Tell Us About A Memorable ‘Lightbulb Moment’
We had a family visiting as part of a cook club. After eating a tomato straight from the plant, the mum said: “I eat tomatoes and cucumbers almost every day, but I had forgotten what they actually taste like. Everything I usually buy tastes the same. I can remember this from my childhood.” For me it just shows you how far away from our food we’ve become.
What Advice Would You Give To Someone Looking To Become An Urban Farmer?
Get ready to make sacrifices. Opportunities are rare, paying ones rarer. It takes three or four years to learn the ropes but being an urban farmer is great – so many people are on the hunt for good produce. Any chance you get to interact with your customers, take it and see how they share your passion, it’s very rewarding!