Organic Food to Your Door
Vegetarian and entrepreneur Darren Jones has recently moved
to the Algarve from Moscow and is trying to support local
farmers by delivering organic food boxes to your door.
Organic Food to Your Door
Vegetarian and entrepreneur Darren Jones has recently moved to the Algarve from Moscow and is trying to support local farmers by delivering organic food boxes to your door.
Surfer Darren is riding the current wave of organic production, his business background giving him the vision to unite farmers into focusing their production towards organic boxes. Darren describes his business Organic Box Portugal as a “solutions-based start-up that wants to do its part for the world”. His aim is to provide organic, high-quality and local products to local communities.
Working with certified farms and individuals who follow best-practice techniques, Darren is an enthusiastic gardener. His evolution into a farmer, however, has not been an obvious one. In fact, he took a business degree before following a path into education. A spell teaching English as a foreign language in Paris was followed by four years in Moscow as a teacher/companion to the kids of the city's elite.
So how did Darren turn full circle? “I grew up living in cities around the world and only knew tomatoes from my Granny’s greenhouse. The smell of those tomato plants made a powerful impact on me. After working on several farms and seeing for myself how the fruits and vegetables go from flower to fruit, it became a real interest. For now, I only grow what I like to eat.”
Darren found the Algarve while spending three months at the Moinhos Velhos Detox retreat. He got involved with growing food in the Algarve and was introduced to the book The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier, which has been a big inspiration.
The book is an encyclopedic guide to low-tech, high-yield production methods, focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, and making your operation more lucrative and viable in the process. The Market Gardener is a compendium of practical information on growing mixed vegetables systematically with attention to weed and pest management, crop yields, harvest periods and pricing approaches. There is a guide to the recommended planting distance between different crops and how to optimise revenue using boxes and markets.
“I’ve never been a fan of artificial fertilisers. Learning about the methods of organic farming was mind-blowing; it’s all about feeding the soil and making it healthy for the plant to grow in. Microorganisms, worm casts, compost – life creates life. Conventional farming is the science of chemical manipulation (specifically three chemicals: NPK) to optimise yields and increase the plant’s resistance to pests. There’s something that doesn’t feel natural about it.”
Darren, who confesses he was drawn to the Algarve by the surf, rented a property in Bensafrim and asked his landlord if he could rent some of the surrounding five hectares of land from him. Finally, the pieces had fallen into place for Darren to pursue his dream.