Let Your Life Speak: Stewart Crocker
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Acting locally to feed the world sustainably with Stewart Crocker
It was the call in the 1960s to: “Feed the Nation” that inspired Stewart to pursue a career in farming. However, in the decade that followed, as he put his new found knowledge into practice he became increasingly concerned about the impact of agrochemicals on wildlife.
Further research led Stewart to convert the farm he was managing in the 1980s to organic production. A Nuffield Travel Scholarship subsequently gave him an insight into farming in the developing world. Prompted by these awakenings and his Quakerly values, he resolved to redirect his work to champion international development and environmental conservation.
In pursuit of this over the last 30 years, Stewart has worked as a charity trustee, director and consultant and has been directly responsible for raising over £100 million for a wide range of causes. He has delivered humanitarian aid in war-torn countries and supported farmers in Africa. He has trained civil society leaders in organisational capacity building in many counties, and campaigned to drive down carbon emissions and food waste.
Arising from this experience, and his first-hand appreciation that so many trends are putting life on Earth at risk, Stewart is passionate about the need to ensure that 9 billion people can be properly fed whilst conserving the natural environment. He is convinced about the potential to achieve the positive change required globally by harnessing the power of human spirit through collective action locally.
This has led him, in collaboration with like–minded people and cross-sector expertise, to establish Wells Food Network. As a member of the national network of Sustainable Food Cities, its aim is to champion the creation of a truly sustainable local food system – one which is both good for people and for the planet.
In support of this, Sidcot School is delighted to be contributing with other schools to a project which aims to deepen our pupils’ understanding of the connection between environmental and human health and wellbeing, by examining the subject of food from many perspectives across the curriculum.
Let Your Life Speak: Alice Owen
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Alice Owen grew up in the 1970s on a maize and dairy farm near Limuru in the highlands of central Kenya. In this area of good soils and high rainfall close to Nairobi, young people could rely on a good education to earn a salaried job in the capital. Environmental issues were not on the agenda and Alice could never have foreseen the direction her life would take.
After a series of administrative positions in local banks and a hotel, she had a chance interview that changed her life. Within a matter of months she was managing 80,000 acres of pristine wilderness in Tsavo, an area once infamous for man-eating lions and now home to Kenya’s largest elephant population. She was now living and working among people at the other end of the spectrum, living in great poverty and in constant conflict for their survival with large mammals. They hunted wildlife to sell the meat and cut trees to burn charcoal to sell at the roadside. Not out of ignorance, but through lack of alternatives. These experiences brought her to appreciate the value of supporting children’s education, not simply for imparting knowledge, but as a means to an alternative existence not based on the destruction of natural resources. Alice went on to work for an international conservation charity and that took her to other wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the conservation effort, where she continued to the construction of schools and the sponsorship of promising young people.
Her life took another change of direction when she emigrated with her family to the UK in 2010. After taking time out to raise a young family, she has been a wildlife volunteer, environmental science student, organic food certification expert and will shortly be completing a BBC-supported MA in Wildlife Film-making.
Alice’s unexpected story gives hope for conservation in the hands of Africa’s own people. She hopes the next chapter of her story will allow her to combine her Kenyan roots with her international experiences to keep working for the harmonious co-existence of people and wildlife, before the opportunity has passed.
Let Your Life Speak: Nick Ross
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Nick Ross, BA, FRSA, has been a leadership trainer and personal development coach for over 20 years. Coming from a professional background in addictions therapy his work today includes delivery of extensive leadership development programs and executive coaching to global companies and senior leaders.
Nick is the Director of a different drum, whose work he summarises as ‘helping others to take the next step’. As a writer, poet and lover of the outdoors Nick brings his love of the arts and nature to his work with executives and senior teams to address and reflect on the place of soul in leadership and the role of creative sanctuary in supporting healthy human development. As a facilitator in preparation for The Centre for Courage and Renewal, Nick brings the principles and practices of the Circle of Trust approach to support this work in a group context. Nick is a personal development coach to individual leaders going through periods of significant transition in their personal and professional lives.
Nick is also Creative Director with Olivier Mythodrama Associates where he is responsible for the design, development and facilitation of arts based retreats for Board level and Executive teams addressing questions essential to our understanding of the challenges facing 21st century leadership.
Nick has a longstanding interest in the exploration of human consciousness and its application in the development of organizations and leadership. Nick draws his inspiration from time spent learning from a variety of aboriginal cultures and influential individuals including Elisabeth Kubler Ross and has a strong interest and developing practice in shamanism, transpersonal, and archetypal psychology inspired by the practice of individuals such as Stanislav Grof ,Robert Moore and James Hillman. His interest in Jungian psychoanalysis includes a 7 year commitment to his own analysis which is ongoing. Nick has been involved in the use of Hemi Sync technology, pioneered by Robert Monroe, for nearly 25 years and is a member of the TMI Professional Division in Virginia. Nick is a also a member of the Community of Interbeing founded by Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Tich Nhat Hanh and has a longstanding interest in initiation, ritual and a wide range of contemplative and meditative practices.
Nick has two children aged 24 and 23 and lives with his life partner, Tia in Somerset England. When not working with executives in teams and as a personal development coach he is most likely to be found working on his 2 acre smallholding which is designed using the principles of bio-intensive growing and agro forestry to provide food and a learning resource within the local community.
Let Your Life Speak: Richie Ashford
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Richie grew up and worked on a family owned dairy farm in Devon, before spending many years working overseas in livestock projects in S E Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Richie has worked at Send a Cow since 2004, starting off as Programme Coordinator before taking on responsibility for monitoring the impact of our work. Since 2016 Richie has been the Director of Research and Impact, leading on programme quality, impact reporting and policy issues. Richie has been a member of the UK Food Group management Committee for 5 years.