The Community Farm is an extraordinary place. We think we have some pretty extraordinary staff too! You’d be hard-pushed to find a more dedicated and committed group of people.
Born in Croydon, South London, our family holidays to the countryside (combined with a love of food) created a basic curiosity in where food comes from. My education focused on business: Business Studies at school, Management at university, and then Financial Audit and becoming a Chartered Accountant as a graduate. But it was an organic veg box in Brisbane, some stern words from my partner, and the purchase of a campervan that persuaded me to spend six months on organic farms in Australia; this lit a passion for food and farming that helped me realise just how vital these things are when trying to look after our own health as well as that of the land. Following my return to the UK, I decided to pursue an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture. It was during these studies that I was lucky to start volunteering at The Community Farm. The rest is history! As Managing Director I’m hoping to bring together this journey from business to farming and guide us into the next stage of The Community Farm’s existence.
I first came to The Community Farm for a volunteer day in May 2010 and was so inspired by the people and the place that I couldn’t stay away! Less than a year later I was offered a full-time position doing seasonal work and to managing the volunteer groups at the field. I jumped at the opportunity for a career change and soon I became the farms organic apprentice.
My original training was as a metallurgist and aeronautical engineer and I had a 20 year career in the Civil Service as a project manager in military aircraft procurement and then as the leader of a management consultancy team, working on organisational change. However I loathed being stuck inside all day tied to my desk so I took a sabbatical break to train as a ski instructor in Canada. Working outdoors breathed new life into me and I realised I couldn’t go back to a life that kept me indoors. Trying to reconnect myself to the land I found inspiration in the Transition Movement and in projects like The Community Farm as a path to a more nourishing way to live that engages not only the head and the hands but also the heart.
I love the vibrancy of Bristol with its diverse people, rich food and amazing music but my real dream is one day to live self-sufficiently on my own land growing food and pressing cider.
After an initial stint in London ad agencies, I have spent all of my career focused on environmental and social issues. Over time I have specialised in food, first working alongside Rainforest Alliance, and then as Head of Marketing at the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
For the last few years, I have supplemented my time behind the screen by getting my hands dirty as a market gardener. In London I worked for Growing Communities, running a small, organic market-garden for their veg box scheme and more recently as a grower for Wilsons restaurant in Cotham. It feels great to be back in my home city of Bristol and working at The Community Farm: an agro-ecological farm which shares my vision of local food systems built for health, beauty and permanence.
I have been fortunate enough to spend most of my career working within the organic sector. I have tried my hand at everything from warehouse work to rearing crops and livestock. After managing a 50 acre mixed farm in Ceredigion I made the intrepid voyage across the Severn to join The Community Farm. I spent a couple of years with the warehouse team, packing, driving, and managing the wholesale and box deliveries, then in March 2014 I started on pastures new in the field building up our volunteering team as part of a grant funded project.
I'm really excited to have been welcomed into the farm family this year and am very much enjoying getting to know the land and all the beings (human and beyond!) that share this space with us. I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm and have spent much of my working life with my boots amongst the roots, working on charity and community projects with volunteers and delivering environmental education in organic farm and market garden settings.
I really enjoy hosting groups here on the farm, helping people to connect deeper with nature and our food system, get giving people the opportunity to get closer to the soil in their soul - so come along and join our amazing team of volunteers here on the land!
I have always been extremely interested in environmental issues and an avid supporter of organic, locally-sourced food, this has shaped my career to date. I started working in environmental consultancy immediately after graduating, specialising in the environmental assessment of many waste disposal and infrastructure projects in the UK and further afield. In more recent years I have been involved with research projects concerning recycling and waste minimisation. In amongst the academic work, I managed to squeeze in the setting up and running of my own organic food retail shop. I sold this business in 2002 but I am happy to say it remains trading today.
When the opportunity to work at The Community Farm came my way, I jumped at the chance. I love everything about working at the farm; my colleagues, the atmosphere, the volunteers, the food, the mud, the ethos of the farm and the complete commitment of everybody here.
Born and bred in Somerset, I was lucky enough to find The Farm when I moved from Bristol to the Chew Valley with my husband and two young children. Prior to this I had a few wonderful years in Asia, working for a branding company in the amazing Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, as well as a stint in advertising and marketing in London. Working at The Farm has opened my eyes to the values of eating and growing sustainably as well as the importance of fostering strong local communities, for which I'll be eternally grateful! When not working I can be found walking my cocker spaniel and exploring all the beautiful countryside the Chew Valley has to offer!
We also have a team of fantastic regular volunteers who help us on the field, in the warehouse and for specific projects. Too numerous to mention here, and ever-changing, their support, commitment and enthusiasm is much appreciated by all of us at The Farm.
Find out about our volunteering opportunities.