For the last eight years Mark has run the UK's only climate change farm, Otter Farm in Devon. By researching new varieties and the effects of climate change, he has grown forgotten varieties as well as a range of produce normally imported, thereby helping to cut food industry emissions.
Mark graduated from the University of Winchester in the mid-nineties with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geography. As well as leading the garden team at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage, he has also appeared in the TV series and has written several volumes in the River Cottage Handbook Series.
The main thing that I wanted to do at River Cottage was to inspire people to grow even a little of what they eat, he said. It may seem a tiny gesture in the face of global problems but it's a mind changer. Grow a little of what you eat and most people begin to appreciate seasonality more, to be more inquisitive about where their food comes from, to ask a few questions about it.
Mark regularly writes for a range of publications, including The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and The English Garden. His award winning book A Taste of the Unexpected was published in 2011, and a further three books, The Speedy Vegetable Garden, River Cottage Handbook 11, Chicken and Egg and My Cool Allotment, are due out this year.
I'm hugely excited about meeting Mark - the man behind the magic of one of my favourite TV shows, commented Alex Langlands, best known as co-presenter of BBC's Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm. River Cottage was a major influence for me. To this day it is the best representation of the classic tradition of the British cottage economy and the fact that so much can come from your own back garden.
Alex is currently working on his PhD in History at the University of Winchester and has a keen interest in sustainability, the organic movement and climate change.
A Taste of the Unexpected will take place on Wednesday 13 February at 6pm for 6.30pm at The Stripe, University of Winchester, King Alfred Campus, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR. Refreshments will be available. The event is free but booking is essential. To reserve a seat email email@example.com or telephone 01962 827578.
A print-ready image of Mark Diacono is available to download by clicking here
A print-ready image of Alex Langlands is available to download by clicking here