Caroline Drummond, 58, champion of sustainable farming and the driving force behind Open Farm Sunday, has passed away following a short illness.
An announcement from Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf), the organisation she helped develop and led for more than 30 years, announced the news on Tuesday 24 May “with profound sadness”.
Leaf chairman Philip Wynn said Caroline was “an inspiration” and praised her “passion, determination, foresight and energy” that had transformed Leaf from its small beginnings 30 years ago to the “globally recognised and respected organisation it is today”.
“There really are no words to express how much Caroline will be missed within Leaf and the farming industry; but most deeply by her family, to whom we extend our greatest sympathy,” said Mr Wynn.
From its humble beginnings in 1991, Leaf had grown under Caroline’s leadership to become a hugely influential organisation, both by encouraging more sustainable farming practices and by improving public understanding of agriculture.
One of Leaf’s flagship events is, of course, Open Farm Sunday, which each year connects more than one-quarter of a million people with farming.
But another of Caroline’s huge achievements was leading the Leaf Marque initiative – a farm assurance system recognising products grown sustainably with care for the environment.
She also led the successful merger with the charity Farming and Countryside Education (Face), to bolster the organisation’s educational role.
Caroline was awarded an MBE for her services to agriculture in 2009, and in 2019 she won the Farmers Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award.
Speaking at the time, Woodland Trust chief executive Darren Moorcroft described Caroline as “relentless” in bringing greater sustainability to food and farming, and “passionate” about educating the public about farming.
“She has been committed to seeing the contribution of farming to the environment recognised, and is a great ambassador for linking the environment and farming.”