I was asked by a work colleague to write a “day in the life” blog post for our website, which I thought I’d post here too: I’m the General Manager at the Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT), a role that oversees our operations. This includes finances, human resources, and communications – and working to make sure… Continue reading A Day In The Life…
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Buckminster Fuller This alluring quote from the American inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller has sat uneasy with me in recent years. In 2017, I went from managing a progressive, community-owned food enterprise… Continue reading Rebuilding the food system: who do we engage with for a just transition?
Preamble: this piece contains some disparate threads of thinking going on this week for me, on climate breakdown, capitalism, ferming and farming. Eco-curmudgeon My recently-departed colleague Iain Watt, who amusingly, possibly accurately, describes himself as “eco-curmudgeon” on twitter, gave a presentation about climate change in our workplace before Christmas. Since then, I keep thinking about… Continue reading Climate breakdown, neoliberalism and wild futures for farming
This blog is reposted – it was first published on Forum for the Future’s website. This is the second of a three-part blog series on the Path to a Better Animal Feed System. In the last blog, I outlined why action on animal feed sustainability is urgent and gave a sense of the future direction for monogastric and ruminant… Continue reading Part II: Current Action on Feed Sustainability
For many people, the experience of volunteering at a community farm fulfils a deeply held desire to get closer to the land. It stirs a comforting sense of feeling rooted and valuing the simple, nourishing fruits from the earth. In the patchwork of greenbelt that surrounds London, there’s a huge potential for projects that fulfil… Continue reading Why I Bought Shares On A Community Farm
Last week I left behind the world of freelance life to start a new job. While the going was good (and smooth like this excellent William Onyeabor tune), it’s really exciting to be part of a team again and getting involved with some bigger projects. I’m at Forum for the Future and working in their… Continue reading Sustainable Nutrition: A New Focus for 2017
The two most well-known national VegBox schemes in the UK are Riverford and Abel & Cole. Like freckles dotted in between, there are many smaller box schemes1. These are usually associated with small-scale farms and provide the ideal way for local people to access good quality, super local and seasonal produce from farms on their… Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Creating an Efficient VegBox Scheme
I recently wrote about my involvement in trying to establish a community-owned ecology park and a community-owned microbrewery. In these projects, I’m working collaboratively with others, aiming to get each project into a position where we can raise investment and employ an experienced manager to drive the project forward. I see my involvement as helping move the project to this… Continue reading On Trying to Open a Community Farm Shop & Cafe
One of the joys of working in a community food project is the wonderful people you meet along the way. Ben Fleet is a volunteer at our community farm, a friendly chap who always brings good cheer and enthusiasm to the day. When I met Ben a few years back he was starting out as a brewer, working… Continue reading Local Brews: Resources and Opportunities for Community Beer
“Nothing less is required than a redesign of the whole food system to bring sustainability to the fore”. Foresight: The Future of Food and Farming, 2011 The abundance of food lining our supermarket shelves and providing millions of people with an affordable and reliable food source is a small modern-day miracle. However beyond the glistening… Continue reading Getting to grips with a “super wicked” problem: the future of food and farming
For over three years I’ve had the pleasure of managing a beautiful community farm on the edges of south London. It’s been one of the most interesting jobs I’ve had, combining my love of community work with social enterprise. With a heavy heart, I’ve recently decided to leave my job for new pursuits, but before… Continue reading Food as a relationship: a reflection on running a community farm
What a year it’s been! So much happens on our farm and these are just a few snippets fro mthe year. This was originally posted on the Sutton Community Farm blog: In the final few days of the 2015 we’ve been having a recap of the wonderful year that’s gone and looking forward to the exciting… Continue reading A year on the farm 2015
Over the last year at Sutton Community Farm, we’ve had our eyes on 6 acres of unused land and buildings that sit adjacent. We were recently excited to have the opportunity to tender to lease this from the owners, Surrey County Council, who we rent our current land from. With the additional land and buildings, our… Continue reading We didn’t get the land, but that’s okay
This post was originally written as a blog for the Sutton Community Farm website and has been slightly adapted for here: I hope you are feeling rested and beginning the year filled with hope and good intentions. When it comes to new year resolutions I believe it’s best not setting too many. In the Guardian,… Continue reading Vote with your fork – a new years resolution
I was recently in an interview pitching for some scale-up funding, when the interviewer asked me “what’s the big vision for the farm?”. She understood perfectly what we do and why we do it, but she was after a sense of our next steps and the scale of our ambitions. So I want to paint… Continue reading Stepping up and looking forward: what next for Sutton Community Farm?
I was recently invited to sit on a panel at an event organised by the Plunkett Foundation, a charity that promotes and supports co-operatives and social enterprises in rural communities. The session explored the similarities and differences of setting up a community enterprise in urban and rural settings and it sparked some interesting dialogue. Presented below… Continue reading Are community enterprises easier in the city?
I spent this morning in the offices of sustainability communications agency Futerra, for some media and communications training; one of the perks of being part of the London Leader’s programme . When I was working as a sustainability consultant at BioRegional, Futerra’s reports on communicating sustainability were like little presents from heaven. They taught me many important lessons about… Continue reading Does our farm sell the sizzle?
The London Leaders programme is run by the London Sustainable Development Commission. It’s all about demonstrating the power of leadership and innovation in tackling the sustainability challenges inherent in global cities such as London. I was recently very honoured to be chosen as a London Leader and this programme is supporting me with training and mentoring… Continue reading 5 minute talk on local food
I’m starting my new blog by writing about 5 passions in my life. Each one capturing some thoughts on the subject, which will inevitably be shaped as time goes by. This one is all about Local Food: Sitting down with family, friends and neighbours to share a meal cooked with fresh, local ingredients is a… Continue reading Passion #1: Local food
In our climate, the climax vegetation is woodland or forest. This is the natural tendency of land if you allow it to truly express itself. Over time, a field will eventually transform into something vibrant and diverse, with plants working in harmony with a variety of wildlife to create a new balanced ecosystem. Walking through… Continue reading Inviting nature into our cities
Last week, I took a rare trip away from Sutton Community Farm with growing apprentice Charlotte to visit “Incredible Edible” Todmordon (IET), a town famous for starting an urban food growing movement that has spread into towns all over the world. As we arrived into the train station, we were in competition to spot the… Continue reading A trip to Incredible Edible Todmorden