Profiles - River Bourne Community Farm

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About the farm

Ben Parker MBE is Chairman and founder of River Bourne Community farm C.I.C.

Ben Parker, a local businessman, was born in Warwickshire. His father was a dairy farmer so his early years were spent milking cows, managing a flock of sheep, feeding pigs and hens and contract ploughing. He attended Warwickshire College of Agriculture for a year but it became obvious to him that one couldn't earn a living from small-scale farming so has spent his working life in a variety of different business sectors.

Ben manages his own farm at Winterslow and utilises the farm machinery and resources from that farm to support the Communtiy Farm. He still has a strong affinity with agriculture and loves working on the land.

Ben works quite a lot with disadvantaged youth and especially wants to give the young an opportunity to experience the pleasure and interest of farming and of working on the land.

He feels that the creation of a Community Farm in Laverstock will bridge the gap between generations, the farm being of interest to all ages and providing the experience of the multitude of activities that the farm will offer.

He has put in a substantial amount of his own money to get the project off the ground and has formed a Community Interest Company and assembled an enthusiastic team of local volunteer helpers to get it started and raise funds.

Ben was awarded an MBE in the 2016 Honours List.

Chris Gill is a Director of the farm and is our educational advisor.

Chris Gill’s early years established his belief that everyone benefits from a closer understanding of the countryside. His village primary school stressed the importance of the rural community and set time aside to explore the local farmland environment.

After college at Nottingham he taught  Maths in Enfield until he retired as Deputy Headteacher of Aylward School in Edmonton North London, in August 2004.

Following on from his MA dissertation at the Institute of Education, Chris has seen the mutual benefit achieved when schools work together with businesses. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Enfield Education Business Partnership which links schools and businesses through a range of work related educational experiences. He is also an Independent Manager at the local Priory Hospital, and a Governor at an Academy School and a College of Further Education.

An experienced  gardener, Chris enjoys travelling independently to places with interesting landscapes and flora. He has a keen interest in all things sporting. He has two very young granddaughters and hopes they will be able to enjoy the countryside he knew as a young boy.

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