Horticulture and farming lost one of its true greats last month. News that Caroline Drummond, the Chief Executive of LEAF had passed away, would have touched so many in the industry.
She certainly was, as described by her colleagues, ‘a force of nature, a visionary, and a champion for more sustainable farming.’ Anyone who knew her would agree with that statement and her passion was obvious to anyone to see.
Having worked for LEAF for 30 years and albeit with many talent team members over that time, it can’t be underestimated enough the positive impact that Caroline had on bringing farming and environment much closer together. This was something that she tirelessly championed the development and uptake of with the aim of the industry to deliver more sustainable and regenerative farming. She demonstrated that farming and the environment could work in harmony, in a world where both could benefit.
As well as that, Ms Drummond also worked hard to bridge the gap between farming and the general public who as a result of this type of work, want to know more than ever about where their food comes from and how it is produced, fuelling further interest in locally grown food. As part of this, she would launch the successful nationwide LEAF Open Farm Sunday events and LEAF demonstration days.
She led LEAF from the very beginning in 1991 when it was first formed, and for over 30 years has been the driving force behind the charity, which has grown from its humble beginnings to the globally recognised and respected organisation it is today.
Her ‘unwavering belief’ in the power of certification to bring about real and lasting changes to global production lies as the very heart of LEAF Marque, which now operates in 19 countries and certifies some 48% of the UK produced fruit and vegetables, said her colleagues.
Everyone in the sector will agree this is a great loss but hopefully Ms Drummond’s legacy is so strong that it leaves farming and the environment in a better place.
The excellent work she started, will no be carried on with a new generation of growers and farmers. LEAF will no doubt continue to flourish and grow-right now the sector needs it more than ever.
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