This mission of the SFT is to accelerate the transition to sustainable food systems, inspired by our philosophy of the interconnectedness of the health of soil, plants, animals and people. Our vision is for future food and farming systems which nourish the health of people and planet and are equitable and accessible to all.
Around the world, we now face multiple crises – climate change, loss of nature and biodiversity, food shortages and famine, partly as a result of conflict, and a worsening public health crisis driven by industrialised food with poor nutritional value.
How do we respond to these crises? We have a choice. We can either double down on industrial farming to produce food that is bad for our health, the environment and food security – or we can seize the opportunity to accelerate more sustainable food and farming and, ultimately, ensure everyone has access to healthy, sustainable food. Today, food and farming are part of the problem, but we believe it could be a big part of the solution if we make the right choices in the coming months and years.
Now, more than ever, we need to work to create a policy, economic and cultural environment that supports sustainable food and farming.
To bring about the transformation in food and farming that is urgently needed, we work in three key areas.
We work closely with government, leaders and other organisations to undertake high-level advocacy for policy change that will support a transition to more sustainable farming systems.
Measuring and valuing sustainability
Informed by our work on True Cost Accounting and building on the proposition that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, we believe that we need a ‘common language’ for measuring farm sustainability, and a globally harmonised framework which takes a holistic approach to measuring sustainability on farms.
Public awareness raising
We support citizens to be part of the change through our communications and research work.
Within these areas we actively work and campaign on a number of issues and projects, from relocalising food systems, to advocating for sustainable livestock. Find out more on the Our Work page.
Food and Farming 5-point plan
Everyone needs to play their part in bringing about a transformation in food and farming. The Sustainable Food Trust is therefore calling on the government, private sector, farmers and civil society to back a ‘Food and Farming 5-point plan’:
- Short and long term Government Action – including emergency support to prevent famine around the world and ensure farmers stay in business. In the UK, a package of measures is needed to help families weather the cost of living crisis. Over the long-term, the government needs to more boldly address the underlying structural challenges, including using Government farm aid to incentivise regenerative agriculture.
- Agreement on a common measurement for sustainability on farms – a Global Farm Metric (GFM) – that will empower farmers to become stewards of change and be rewarded financially for it.
- A Green Finance plan from banks and the private sector that will support farmers through this transition, including cheap loans and favourable banking terms.
- Retailers to provide guaranteed prices for farmers who farm sustainably and measure their impact using the GFM.
- Consumers and citizens able to make easy and informed choices about what to buy, underpinned by a common framework for sustainability which provides the consistent farm-level data needed to inform all current and future food labels.
The Sustainable Food Trust is a registered charity that was founded by Patrick Holden in 2011 in response to the worsening human and environmental crises that are associated with the vast majority of today’s food and farming systems.
He identified a number of major barriers preventing large scale uptake of sustainable food production and healthy diets. These include the lack of an enabling policy and economic environment for sustainable food production and consumption; a tendency towards reductionist and siloed thinking amongst scientists and some campaigning organisations; and a myriad of conflicting messages, often perpetuated by those with vested interests, leading to considerable confusion amongst citizens and policymakers alike about what to eat to be healthy whilst at the same time supporting just and sustainable food systems.
Since being established, the SFT has worked collaboratively to inspire change. Some of the highlights from the past ten years include:
- Helped to establish True Cost Accounting as a concept and discipline, particularly through holding the True Cost of American Food Conference in San Francisco in 2016.
- Published our report, The Hidden Cost of UK Food, in 2017. It is still regularly referenced as the go-to source for true cost accounting in the UK.
- Founded the Harmony Project, inspired by the Prince of Wales’ book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World. It takes inspiration from nature in changing the way we look at the world, most notably in our education system. After holding the Harmony Conference in 2017, the project has grown and is now becoming its own registered charity.
- Published A Good Life and A Good Death: Relocalising Farm Animal Slaughter in 2018, a report about the decline of small abattoirs in the UK and how this impacts sustainable, high welfare farming. The report sparked our Campaign for Local Abattoirs which has led to the creation of the Abattoir Sector Group which works with government to address problems facing the industry.
- Campaigned for the reduction of antibiotic use in farm animals, publishing our report, Maximum Growth: Whatever the Cost in 2020.
- Founded the Global Farm Metric Coalition, beginning in 2017 through working with farmers. The coalition now has over 50 members.
Meet the SFT Board
Our Board of Directors is made up of people passionate about transforming our food and farming systems.
HRH The Prince of Wales
In 2019, HRH The Prince of Wales accepted an invitation to become the Patron of the Sustainable Food Trust.
The announcement was made at the launch of the organisation’s Progress Report on Monday 9th December 2019.
Patrick Holden, Founder and CEO of the Sustainable Food Trust:
“The decision by The Prince of Wales to accept this invitation comes at a vital moment in history, when the pressures that unsustainable land management, farming and food production systems are putting on the planet’s ecosystems, are threatening to precipitate irreversible climate change, biodiversity collapse, the further destruction of natural capital, food insecurity and massive and unaffordable damage to public health.
As an organisation that works internationally, with high-level contacts across the world, the SFT is in a unique position to promote greater collaboration between individuals and organisations in leadership positions, encouraging them to embrace united strategies for addressing these unparalleled threats to human civilisation as we know it.
I would like to acknowledge on behalf of the board and staff of the SFT the huge debt of gratitude that we owe to The Prince of Wales for his vision and leadership in this field.”
The Prince of Wales’s book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, reminds us that everything in the universe is connected and balanced by universal laws and relationships, which express themselves everywhere and in all things, manifesting in the laws of physics, the solar system, in the shape and growth patterns of plants, in the beauty of nature, in music, in architecture and in food and farming.
This was the inspiration behind the SFT’s Harmony Project, which seeks to transform education in the UK by putting issues of sustainability at the heart of the curriculum and structuring learning around purposeful, contextualised projects. This new approach references seven key principles that we see at work in Nature – Interdependence; Cycles; Diversity; Adaptation; Health; Geometry; and Oneness – and these are used to frame all learning.
Chair of the Trustees
Anthony is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, 1987. Combining his skills as a photographer and interest in sustainable and organic farming, Anthony has spent many years travelling the world visiting farms to learn first hand what makes sustainable and organic farming practices models of success for farmers in soil regeneration, crop production, plant diversity, carbon sequestration, economic viability, food security and community health.
From 1992-2005, Anthony served as vice chairman and then chairman of the Rodale Institute’s board of directors. Under Anthony’s leadership, the Rodale Institute achieved international recognition for work helping farmers adopt and refine their sustainable and organic farming practices in the US, West Africa and Central America.
In 2008, Anthony was the recipient of The Natural Foods Merchandiser Spirit of Organic Award in the US for demonstrating commitment, innovation, a passion for organics and empowering people and communities to make positive changes through the principles and spirit of organics.
Anthony has collaborated and served on boards with leadership organisations such as Renew America, Africa News Agency, The Rainforest Alliance, The Soil Association and most recently the Sustainable Food Trust to advance their global missions. Anthony currently is the President of The Sustainable Food Alliance.
Anthony is a third generation shareholder of Rodale publishing. Rodale Inc. is an American publisher of health and wellness magazines, books, and digital properties, such as Men’s Health, Woman’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Prevention and Organic Gardening.
Anthony is also an accomplished exhibited photographer, triathlete, ultra runner and two time finisher of the Marathon des Sables in Morocco!
Christina Lee Brown
Christina (Christy) Lee Brown has always been deeply committed to social responsibility and community service. Originally from Maryland, she married Owsley Brown in 1968 and lives in Louisville, Kentucky. The Brown family business, Brown – Forman, includes such brands as Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Old Forester and Woodford Reserve.
In 1985, Christy founded the Center for Interfaith Relations and went onto launch the first US Festival of Faiths, also in Louisville. Christy is a co-founding board member of the newly formed Berry Center. The mission of the centre is to perpetuate a culture that uses nature as the standard, that accepts no permanent damage to the ecosphere and that takes into consideration human health in local communities. She is an international trustee of Religions For Peace, the world’s largest international interfaith organisation. She believes passionately in the potential of faith communities to effect positive change by working together, at the same time celebrating their commonalities and differences. Christy is a proud mother of three and grandmother of nine.
George P. Kailis played a key role in establishing a global network of individuals and organisations that are committed to the SFT’s mission of developing more sustainable food and farming systems. He is a prominent food producer in Australia. His family has enjoyed a long history of successful large-scale food businesses (seafood, farming, processed food, restaurants), as well as fast food chains such as Red Rooster and Pizza Hut. From 2000, the focus of the Kailis family was inspired towards more sustainable seafood production, in line with MSC certification.
Peter is one of Britain’s organic pioneers. Since 1974, he has owned and run a 45-acre farm in West Wales producing organic fruits and vegetables for a box scheme, local farmers’ markets and shops. In the 1980s, he founded Organic Farm Foods, which is now the largest specialist supplier of organic fresh produce in the UK. He has been a member of the Soil Association Council for over 35 years and is a member of the International Association for Partnership of sustainable food leaders addressing social, cultural and economic influences. He was awarded an OBE for services to organic farming.
Jane Parker has been a long term supporter of the sustainable food movement. She owns Fir Farm in the Cotswolds, a mixed farm run on sustainable and organic principles. Jane has been actively involved with the SFT for a number of years, most recently campaigning for local abattoirs and the relocalisation of food systems.
Meet the team
All of our team members are dedicated to the mission of the SFT and are passionate about food and farming.
Patrick Holden, CBE
Founder & CEO
I founded the Sustainable Food Trust in 2011 with the mission of accelerating the transition towards more sustainable food systems. My advocacy for a major global transition now entails international travel, regular broadcasts and talks at public events on the importance of transforming our food and farming systems in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss and poor public health. I have been advising the Prince of Wales on sustainability issues since 1982 and am currently Patron of the UK Biodynamic Association.
After studying biodynamic agriculture at Emerson College, I established a mixed community farm in Wales in 1973, producing at various times: wheat for flour production sold locally, carrots and milk from a 90 cow Ayrshire dairy herd, now made into Hafod, an organic raw milk cheese. Prior to founding the SFT, I was the founding chairman of British Organic Farmers in 1982, before joining the Soil Association as director between 1995 and 2010, during which time the organisation led the development of organic standards and the market for organic foods.
I have been working with the SFT since 2013, now overseeing the organisation’s strategic activities. In recent years, one of my major focuses has been the development of a project called the Global Farm Metric – an internationally common framework for measuring on-farm sustainability. I am also currently an advisor to the Scottish Government.
In 2020, I undertook a part time secondment with the Welsh Government, and in 2019 I completed a part-time secondment with DEFRA, both times working to develop metrics for monitoring the new post-Brexit farm support schemes. Previous to these roles, I have a background in geography and soil science.
As Policy Director of the Sustainable Food Trust, I am the lead author on a number of reports and briefing papers and play a key role in overseeing projects, campaigns and events.
I was previously an editor of the journal New Farmer & Grower (now called Organic Farming) and was chairman of the Soil Association’s Symbol Committee, which first drew up detailed organic food and farming standards in the 1980s. I led the Soil Association’s campaign against the misuse of antibiotics in agriculture for 17 years, and have written widely on issues relating to agriculture, including the underlying causes of bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s Disease, the importance of grass and grazing animals, the true cost of food systems and the importance of small abattoirs for local farming communities.
As an organic, 100% grass-fed cattle and sheep farmer, I manage 390 acres on the Cotswolds, along with my sister Rosamund (author of The Secret Life of Cows), with a high emphasis on animal contentment and nature conservation.
Strategic Advisor and Global Farm Metric Director
I have joined the Sustainable Food Trust to work with the team to take the Global Farm Metric to the next stage of consensus and adoption, and to Chair the GFM coalition working group.
I first met Patrick Holden in 2015 when CEO of the Rothschild Foundation, director to the family office and board member of the Waddesdon Estate. I was looking for answers to how a responsible land owner could ensure that their land was passed to the next generation in a better state – environmentally, economically and for greater public good. This led to Sustainable Food Trust’s work into the establishment of a common language and framework for measuring the sustainability of our land management systems.
I remain a board member and trustee for a number of family offices, Non-Executive Director of Whitley Asset Management, Trustee of the Illuminated River Foundation and Director of Waddesdon Wines Limited.
Director of Harmony in Education
I am the Director of Harmony in Education for The Harmony Project, and facilitate the SFT’s work in campaigning to transform education around food, farming and sustainability.
With over 30 years teaching experience, including as Headteacher of an Ofsted graded Outstanding School for 18 years, my work in redesigning a curriculum around Nature’s principles of Harmony has already begun inspiring the next generation of teachers and children.
I believe passionately that the best way for children to be motivated in their learning is when it makes sense to them and when they have a key role to play. Through combining core skills to purposeful enquiries of learning, the children start to develop their own vision of how they want to see their world and just as importantly what they can do to make it happen.
Head of Policy & Campaigns
My role involves working on SFT campaigns and shaping our work to influence policy. I also support our communications team to ensure our policy and campaigns are reflected in our communications outputs.
Before joining the SFT, I studied for a degree in International Politics and then gained a Masters degree in Food and Water Security at Aberystwyth University. Following some work as a lambing assistant in Devon, I joined the SFT as an intern, moving to a full time role as a policy assistant before becoming communications manager. I now work on our policy, campaigns and comms, linking these important areas together.
I currently live on my family’s Somerset farm where they rear sheep and spin and sell the wool.
Megan is currently on maternity leave.
Head of Projects
As Head of Projects, I oversee a wide range of SFT activities, including the Feeding Britain campaign, Beacon Farms project, and work around food education and local food.
I joined the SFT in 2017 to support the development and delivery of SFT projects and events. A large part of this work included managing the establishment and evolution of The Harmony Project – an SFT led initiative, working with educators to help them put Nature’s principles of Harmony at the heart of teaching and learning. I have a background in food anthropology and environmental science with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Amsterdam, and a Food Anthropology MA from SOAS University of London.
I grew up in rural Somerset on a diet of cheese and pickle sandwiches and have loved food and farming ever since! I’m excited to be part of a growing movement of people who care about where their food comes from, and hope the work of the SFT will help to inspire farmers, producers and citizens to move towards more sustainable food production and consumption.
Head of Operations
I take the lead on the operational management of the Sustainable Food Trust, as well as playing a key role in our strategic development and overseeing fundraising and financial activities.
Before joining the SFT, I spent eight years as Project Manager for Ecoworks, a community urban food and environmental organisation in Nottingham. There, I managed a number of projects including the box scheme and café alongside community horticulture and healthy eating projects.
Claire is currently on maternity leave.
Head of Research
I joined the Sustainable Food trust in 2021 to oversee research activities, including within the Global Farm Metric and across a range of other projects and focus areas.
Since 2011, my research has included applying quantitative and qualitative methodologies to problems as diverse as guillemot breeding productivity, the pollination niches of buttercups and the research priorities for animal health modelling. My current focus is on implementing change towards more sustainable grassland-based livestock farming.
Prior to joining the SFT, I was a Lecturer in Sustainable Systems at Aberystwyth University. I have expertise in high nature value and climate friendly livestock farming. Before gaining my PhD in pollination ecology in 2011, I held positions as a countryside ranger at a number of nationally important UK nature reserves. Away from work, I am a keen walker, sea swimmer and writer.
Global Farm Metric Project Manager
I am the project manager for the Global Farm Metric. I am responsible for coordinating the coalition and stakeholder engagement around alignment, testing, trials and adoption of the GFM as a common assessment of farm sustainability.
Prior to joining the SFT, I worked with smallholder farmers and farmer organisations in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Peru building capacity around sustainable agricultural production, processing and market access towards more responsible, resilient and inclusive supply chains.
I particularly enjoy working on cross-sector initiatives and bring 20 years experience working with public, private and non-government organisations in Senegal, Uganda and Afghanistan on planning and delivery of agricultural and rural development programmes.
For the past 8 years I have been coordinating the upkeep of a community garden with the local primary school, the local community and the Canal & River Trust. My background in agronomy is useful, but most valuable is learning from others and developing it together. As a public garden it provides a valuable green space for all to enjoy.
Working with the team, I make sure our messages are going out loud and clear across our platforms, including our website content, newsletter, social media and podcast. I also line manage the Communications Officer.
I have had a varied career in the communications and marketing world, including working in travel and tourism, ethical hospitality, and heritage and conservation. I love the positive change a strong communications message can inspire.
We all have to eat – so making food choices that have a positive impact on climate, nature and health is a really personally powerful way to deal with the daily doom we see in the media. I think the plight of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is something we can all learn from – food that leaves us unsatisfied, food that nourishes us, and even though they might eat all our cabbages, the importance of insects!
Global Farm Metric Trials Manager
I work with Marina to support the delivery and roll out of the farm trials for the Global Farm Metric team and to design and deliver the future farm trials programme.
Previously I worked as the Project Manager for Agricology – a sustainable food and farming platform set up by Daylesford and run by the Organic Research Centre. I have an MSc in Carbon Management and a BSc in Geography from the University of Edinburgh. I also worked as a Marketing Manager for The BBC Good Food and BBC Gardeners World Live events, before spending a year at Ballymaloe Cookery School, which led me to a role as a private chef at Daylesford.
My love of food was inspired by a childhood of wholesome, home cooked food and no day beginning without a freshly baked loaf of Irish Soda bread. But my interest in pursuing a career in sustainable food and farming was affirmed at Ballymaloe Cookery School. Not only did I develop an understanding of sourcing quality produce but that most importantly, it all starts with the soil!
Global Farm Metric Trials Manager
I work alongside Lydia to oversee the development, delivery and analysis of the Global Farm Metric’s national trials.
Previously, I studied Marine Engineering for 5 years, until one day I understood that what made me happy was food and sharing moments with my loved ones, like my mom and grandmother – and so I became a chef to further explore food and my own culture. After working in different restaurants around the world, I began to question my relationship with food and the planet. I stepped out of the kitchen and far back to the roots of food itself, farming.
A new passion was unlocked and it became my personal responsibility to try to influence others’ relationships with food in the same way. For me the best way to spend my day would be fermenting and pickling everything I have in my kitchen – pickled nasturtium seeds are the new capers!
Finance and Operations Manager
My role involves management of the SFT’s finances and systems, and ensuring that all other aspects of the SFT’s core operations run smoothly. I enjoy the overview of the team’s work that my role affords, and love the team of people that I am lucky enough to work with.
I have worked in a variety of spheres, spending the first part of my career working in the arts, before retraining as an environmental professional and spending a number of years providing behaviour-change and carbon consultancy services to the public sector in Scotland. In 2011, feeling a growing sense of frustration with the mainstream winds, I threw off the bowlines and began a year of volunteering on organic farms, visiting intentional communities and cooking for permaculture and deep ecology courses.
I hold a deep belief that if we re-connect to the earth and its cycles we will find personal healing, and the motivation to create the new paradigm we so dearly need.
External Relations Manager
I am responsible for the care of both our current and past supporters, keeping them informed about our work and arranging events through which they can connect with us. I also manage funding opportunities, alongside SFT project managers, to ensure our work can continue to develop.
I have extensive commercial experience as well as an MSc in Human Nutrition. Through my own businesses, I have exported consumer goods to Latin America and acted as consultant to the food industry on nutrition trend forecasting. For some years I have supported the SFT through my photography hobby and my images feature on the SFT website.
I have a particular interest in psychology and the reasons we have disconnected from the world around us. I am excited to develop ways to reconnect people with the land and with healthy, sustainable food. In my spare time, I write poetry and children’s fiction with environmental themes. Stories include a girl who sets out to prove she can communicate with plants and a mole with an ambition to work on the woodland internet!
I work alongside others in the research team, helping to produce reports and briefing papers on a number of subjects, including the hidden cost of UK food and the role of grazing livestock in sustainable food systems. More recently, I carried out the research behind the Feeding Britain report, which explored the impacts on land use, food production and self sufficiency following a nationwide transition to regenerative, agroecological farming practices.
I come from a hill farming family in Highland Perthshire, producing organic beef and sheep as well as trees. I have always been interested in the relationships between land use and the environment, and it’s an incredibly exciting (if challenging, and sometimes disheartening!) time to be working on these issues.
I support and coordinate the research and development of the Global Farm Metric framework, including facilitation and analysis of farm trials, desk-based research, communications and relationship management.
After working on farms in the UK and abroad, I completed a BSc in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Bristol. Before joining the Sustainable Food Trust, I supported resilience projects with environmental think tanks and co-managed a mobile catering business.
Learning about the intersection between the science of nature and the art of growing has always fascinated me – as well as the many ways to grow food that benefit nature, climate, health and social justice. It’s so exciting to see this more in global food movements and cross-generational activism.
I work as a freelance writer and website editor for the Sustainable Food Trust. I’m able to use my understanding of sustainable food from the hands on perspective of growing food on a small organic horticulture farm in West Wales, Troed y Rhiw Organics, which I run with my partner Nathan Richards.
Born in the United States, I’m a long way from home but love my life in the wild west of Wales. I graduated with distinction from Stanford University and have an MA in the history of photography from the University of New Mexico. Before finding myself a small-scale farmer, I worked for many years in the contemporary visual arts, working closely with artists as a curator, gallery educator and art critic.
Research and Policy Officer
I support the research team in keeping up to date with the latest scientific evidence and report writing. I also assist with communications and policy work to ensure our messages are based on current research and policy events.
After completing my Biology degree at Bristol University, where I focussed on plant biology, molecular genetics, and the ecology of food production, I spent time volunteering with the Soil Association before joining the SFT as an intern. I am currently studying for a master’s in Food Policy at City, University of London alongside my work.
I am drawn to the link between people, food and nature. Promoting equitable access to land, employment opportunities and food itself, is one of the strongest ways to ensure that the food system can support the planet and everyone who lives on it.
HR & Operations Officer
I work closely with the Finance & Operations Manager and Head of Operations in the development and delivery of a variety of projects within the operations team.
I have a background working in charities and IT; I was a photographer for several holistic & sustainable small brands for over 10 years. It is this creative interest that led me to a people and culture role for a global IT company, a few years before joining the SFT.
Family life and thinking about the footprint we leave behind have shaped my sustainable food choices, including keeping a flock of ducks in our back garden! I am currently completing a postgraduate degree with an environmental focus which has also inspired me to live more sustainably.
Executive Assistant to Patrick Holden
I support Patrick with his daily schedule and facilitate the wider SFT team with event organisation and general administration.
I have a degree in Geography and a solid Executive Assistant and team strategy background, having worked extensively in a broad range of industries throughout the UK and mainland Spain. Most recently I assisted the executive of a regulated utility on strategy development for the evolution of the UK water sector.
I maintain a lifelong connection and interest to nature and environmental causes. Since moving from London to the West Country, we have embraced our country life and have enough space to modestly grow our own organic fruit and veg, whilst supporting local producers and farmers #thinkglobalactlocal. I have a passion for friends, food and good fun – an old 90s raver who loves a summer festival!
Executive Assistant to Adele Jones
I help SFT’s Deputy CEO, Adele, to keep on top of her busy schedule and support the rest of the team with event organisation, project logistics and comms work.
I studied Italian at university and have since taken on a variety of roles in the UK and Italy, including editing books, teaching English as a foreign language, organising tours of Florence and supporting an in-house legal team.
My great grandfather was a farmer and I’ve always felt drawn to rural life. In 2018, I set off to southern France to volunteer on organic farms and vineyards; learning about biodynamics and permaculture, helping to fill 20,000 wine bottles and repair drystone walls, and enjoying some excellent pesticide-free rose! The experience left me with a keen interest in sustainable living and the desire to learn more.