1751. Gavin Shelton
Gavin Shelton, from Cambridge, is the creator of ‘CoFarm’, a community farm based on the outskirts of the city designed and maintained by more than 300 local volunteers.
Gavin gave up a full-time job at a global conservation NGO in January 2019 to pursue the farm and a vision of bringing people together to grow and share nutritious food, improving access to local, sustainably produced food and promoting healthier ecosystems. Since its first harvest in July 2020, Gavin’s farm has produced nearly 10 tonnes of organically grown food, consisting of 55 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables valued at approximately £40,ooo, all of which were donated to seven emergency food hubs established across Cambridge to support people experiencing food insecurity in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Gavin plans to roll out the model across the UK to achieve 250,000 acres of community farming land by 2030.
In a personal letter to Gavin, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“In one year alone you have harvested and donated organic fruit and vegetables to the value of £40,000 to those in need across Cambridge. Along with your fantastic group of 300 volunteers, you have created something truly special in your community.
“‘CoFarm’ is a brilliantly innovative initiative and I wish you every success with your goal of rolling out your community farming model to 250,000 acres by 2030.”
Daniel Zeichner, Member of Parliament for Cambridge, said:
“I am immensely pleased for Gavin for this remarkable and well-deserved achievement. From increasing access to sustainable food to donating produce to food hubs across the city, ‘CoFarm Cambridge’ are doing critical work in the most difficult of circumstances. This award, therefore, represents a fitting tribute and demonstration of Gavin’s immense contributions to the community”
“‘CoFarm’ is all about communities coming together to positively address ‘larger than self’ issues such as climate change, health inequalities and biodiversity loss. By repositioning regenerative food and farming at the heart of our communities, we can overcome these challenges together. This Points of Light award shines light on all of our amazing co-farmers – over 300 to date – who have put so much love, time, energy and joy into co-designing and co-creating their own community farm in Cambridge.
“Since the start of the pandemic, under the expert horticultural guidance of Peter Wrapson and Dominic Walsh, we have – together – organically grown over 10 tonnes of fruit and vegetables for those in our city who experience food insecurity. We thank the Prime Minister for his recognition of this community response and, in so doing, for shining light on needs that may otherwise remain hidden within our communities, our ecosystems and the soils beneath our feet. We look forward to positively addressing these needs together as we scale-up the ‘CoFarm’ model with and for communities across the UK by 2030.”
Picture credit: Sam Mellish