A NEW scholarship to champion sustainability has been launched in recognition of an organisation's founder. 

Caroline Drummond MBE, founder and former CEO of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), sadly passed away in May 2022. She led LEAF from its beginning in 1991 until her death. 

Now, the organisation has launched The LEAF Caroline Drummond Scholarship for Innovation in Sustainability. 

LEAF chair, Philip Wynn, said: “Caroline was the driving force behind LEAF for over 30 years.  She was an inspirational thinker, innovator, collaborator, and communicator.   She was a catalyst of great change and pivotal in driving forward more sustainable, regenerative and climate positive farming – both in the UK and globally.

“Her work was driven by research and the development of novel ideas and practical approaches to accelerate the uptake of more sustainable farming through Integrated Farm Management (IFM).

"We are delighted to have set up this new scholarship in her name. By supporting scholars, we will further add to the body of research contributing to the more widespread practice of IFM at an increasingly global scale along with its ongoing development in addressing current climate change challenges.” 

The scholarship will support innovations that have the potential to facilitate commercially and environmentally sustainable farming and food production. It will help organisations and individuals to carry out research and projects that advance sustainable farming practices, that can be replicated at scale. 

You can apply for the scholarship from March 2024, and it will be open to researchers from universities, institutes, commercial companies and start up enterprises, farmers and individuals from relevant non-profit organisations and charities. 

For more information about the scholarship, click here

LEAF demonstration farmer and farm manager at Overbury Enterprises, Jake Freestone, added: “Caroline had an infectious passion for delivering positive change for the planet and its people. 

"She was instrumental in the development of so many early industry initiatives, such as the Integrated Arable Crop Production Alliance (IACPA) and the European Initiative for Sustainable Development in Agriculture (EISA).

"It was her conviction that the pursuit of more sustainable farming had to be farmer-led, practical and grounded in rigorous scientific research that underpinned the formation of the LEAF Network of leading Demonstration Farms and world class Innovation Centres who today, collectively drive forward Caroline’s ‘science into practice’ vision.” 

“This important scholarship programme will help ensure that her legacy lives on by supporting the next generation of thinkers, practitioners, and innovators.  It will enable cutting-edge and practical research into more sustainable farming to be undertaken, work that will make a real difference as farmers meet the challenges of feeding, fuelling, and protecting the world against a background of climate change.”

More details of The LEAF Caroline Drummond Scholarship will be announced at LEAF’s Annual Conference on February 1 2024.