Jason Byles, manager of Mara Seaweed

My office is the sunrise and the beach. I see the seasons as they change, experience the full forces of nature, and work in harmony with the moon and sun. For every two hours of hard slog, I get to experience five minutes of brilliant sunshine that no one else gets to see. I wake up in the earliest hours of the morning which can be brutal, but it's worth it knowing that I will be fully immersed in nature.

All of my memories growing up are of the outdoors and freedom. I'm originally from New Zealand and grew up with only two TV channels in black and white. Now, people can have a TV in every room of their house if they want to, but I feel more comfortable with nature.

Seaweed foraging is something I stumbled on. I've been living in Scotland for eight years and worked for 12 years as a qualified chef. There's a focus on getting people outside and into nature connection so I started community gardening in Glasgow. I taught workshops to show people how to supplement their gardens and their dinner table and foraged in my own time.

I wake up at 5am and meet my group at an arranged point. I have a core group of four people who stick with me in the ocean, they appreciate being in nature. Even numbers are always good because then if something happens we can split into pairs. I have to be cautious as the tide can change unexpectedly. Once, I was out harvesting and all of a sudden 6 foot waves started rolling towards me in a matter of ten minutes.

The rocks with the seaweed are dangerous, so it's important to wear special footwear with spikes on the feet. The drysuits are recreational and are used for kayaking but I use them for scrambling on rocks and they take a real hammering. For the areas I can't reach I use a canoe. My favourite part of the job is the environment, I love when sea life come right up to me and my team. I often see things most people don't.

Different types of seaweed are available seasonally. I cut a 6ft long type of kelp called Kombu, it's heavy and after 4 hours cutting with knives, I have it all. At that point, there are no rocks, just ocean and that's when the tide turns and the winds pick up. Most people doing activities leave an hour before my group and I do.

At the end of the day, we're all tired and that's when the wind changes. I feel exhausted, cold, hungry but need to carry a whole load of seaweed off of the beach. The seaweed is harvested in Fife then I drive to Edinburgh, where it's milled from a 6ft plant to a 3-millimetre flake which can be added to raw, sweet, and savoury food. It can be used for medicinal or health reasons and has 85% less sodium than salt.

Our ethos in Mara is to empower coastal communities. I think seaweed has the potential to save the planet, but the most important part is human safety and environmental awareness. I hope seaweed makes it onto everyone's shopping list.

Visit maraseaweed.com