The industry has united to pay tribute to LEAF CEO Caroline Drummond, who has passed away aged 58.

Described as a ‘force of nature’, Caroline sadly passed away last week (23 May) following a short battle with illness.

Caroline has been the driving force behind LEAF for over 30 years, and has tireless championed the development and uptake of more sustainable, regenerative farming.

LEAF released the following tribute to their founder:

“Not originally from a farming background, her father was a diver, she worked on a range of farms in the UK and across the world and, after graduating from Seale Hayne Agriculture College, joined the MDS graduate scheme as one its first recruits.

Greatly inspired

“She was greatly inspired by every farm she worked on and soon learnt about the skills and capability of the farmers and the sheer joy of being involved with soil, nature, water and growing. Prior to joining LEAF, Caroline was as an agronomy lecturer and forklift truck driver instructor at Shuttleworth Agricultural College.

“LEAF represented everything Caroline fundamentally believed in – the importance of science-based farming; taking the best of modern technology and traditional methods; working with nature not against it. Critically, alongside this, the need for our industry to engage with consumers.

“She was also passionate about bridging the gap between farmers and the public. She led LEAF from the very beginning in 1991 when it was first formed, and for over 30 years has been the driving force behind the charity, which has grown from its humble beginnings to the globally recognised and respected organisation it is today.”

‘Tour de force’

NFU president Minette Batters is among those in the wider industry to pay tribute to Caroline. In a statement she said: “She was a tour de force within the agricultural community, her sense of purpose and commitment was renowned, and for which she will be greatly missed. Caroline was first and foremost passionate about environmentally-friendly farming. She recognised how food production worked hand-in-hand with the environment and was a fantastic advocate for integrated farm management. My thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”