Caroline Aitken originally studied art and design, specialising in glassmaking, and still works as an illustrator. She travelled for three years in Europe and Morocco in a bus powered by vegetable oil, then settled on a smallholding in Devon where she grew vegetables and tended livestock while also studying horticulture with the RHS.
After taking part in Patrick Whitefield’s Permaculture Design course in 2008, she was invited to return to work as the course cook. She has been cooking for Patrick’s courses ever since, and now also works with him as a permaculture teacher. In the course of this work she is often asked about forest garden foods and how to prepare them. She realised the need for practical guidance on how integrate these new foods into familiar and appealing meals, which led to her collaboration with Martin Crawford on Food from Your Forest Garden.
Caroline lives with her husband on a 4-acre smallholding in South Devon, which they aim to develop into a specialist nursery and to host workshops and courses on permaculture, organic horticulture and traditional crafts. They also hope to create a community vegetable garden for the benefit of school groups, the disabled and people with Alzheimer’s – aiming to be as self-sufficient, low-impact and resilient as possible, while also reaching out to the local community. She believes that the future will be all about communities, supporting one another and sharing skills, energy and resources.