Norfolk HarFest 2017 at Norwich Cathedral.  Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

The Food and Farming Discovery Trust was established in 2017 as the educational charity of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.

We are governed by a board of trustees who oversee the strategic development of the trust as well as supporting the day to day running of the trust.

Working with the trust we have a group of individuals call the ‘Advisory group’.  Their role is to collaborate on new projects, support the trust and help develop food and farming education in Norfolk.

Meet the Advisory group

Dr Jenni Rant

Jenni Rant

Programme Manager - SAW Trust


Jenni originally studied Countryside Management with a particular focus on woodlands. Her fascination for botany and the development of crop plants led her to train as a plant pathologist at the John Innes Centre.  During this time she became interested in science communication, particularly developing ways for people to explore science concepts using a cross-disciplinary approach.   In 2012 She became programme manager of the Science Art and Writing Trust and she also works as a freelance communication consultant.

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Samantha Fox

Director & Co-founder - Youth STEMM Award


Samantha is a biologist with a passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists. She founded the Women of the Future Conference for year 10 girls and the Year 10 Science Camp at the John Innes Centre, where she also studies plant development. In 2015 she launched the Youth STEMM Award, a social enterprise designed to inspire the next generation of STEMM professionals.

Andy Crouch Photography

Phil Smith

Coordinator - Teacher Scientist Network


Phil has a plant science research background, but has run TSN for over 10 years. TSN is a science education charity, supporting links between schools and 'real science' . We are hosted by the John Innes Centre, and the charity itself is 22 years old. Our core activities focus upon teachers in both primary and secondary sectors. We create links between teachers and scientists, provide high-quality science resources for schools to borrow and offer occasional subject knowledge focused cpd for teachers.


Gaina Dunsire

Educational Consultant - LEAF Education


Gaina has a passion for food, farming and education. She taught for 12 years in Secondary Schools in London, the Middle East and Suffolk, before an interest in permaculture led her to leave teaching to design and project manage an outdoor ‘living classroom.’

After returning to the UK,Gaina completed an MSc in Ecological Food Systems and has worked on farms, in agricultural research and for a small food business. She also sits on the board of East Anglia Food Link and works part-time for Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) as their Regional Education Consultant in the East of England.


Katharine Robinson

County Organiser - Norfolk Young Farmers


Katharine has enjoyed a varied career including tutoring post-16 students and assisting them in gaining apprenticeships and working as a teaching assistant for a Norfolk junior school and also worked for Leeway domestic abuse services. Katharine has also worked in many other industries so has a wealth of varied experiences.

Recently taken up the post of County Organiser for Norfolk Federation of Young Farmers and Countrysiders where Katharine organises the 27 clubs around the county. We are not just for those in farming, but for anyone who may have an interest in food, farming, agriculture, learning, fun and achieving goals. Our aims and values are based on fun, learning and achievement with agricultural and environment being the focus.


Sue Penlington

Education Manager - Holkham Estate


Sue’s passion is engaging young people in the outdoor environment and has worked in the Outdoor Education industry for over 10 years.

As part of her role at Holkham she runs the Field to Fork Experience which includes Trailer Tours around the Park Farm for both children and adults and also delivers educational sessions in the 6 acre Walled Garden. An ecologist by trade Sue has a particular interest in agri-environmental schemes alongside promoting gardening in schools. It’s all about hands on engaging activities for Sue & she is often heard saying “Mucky kids have more fun”.

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Gavin Paterson

Director - Worstead Farms


Gavin was born and raised on his family farm in North Norfolk. After obtaining a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineer he spent 6 years developing NHS facilities and commercial property in London. He returned to the farm in 2010 and is responsible for medium scale infrastructure project such as reservoirs, solar and wind farms. Gavin co-founded the charity Yellobric in 2011 after traveling by land down the West coast of Africa for 5 months. The charity leverage mobile technology to provide eLearning facilities and support to developing world schools in South Africa and Ethiopia.

Yellobric ran the School Space Race in 2016/17 in partnership with Research Council UK, UEA and the IOP. Five schools in Norfolk competed with partner schools in South Africa and Ethiopia to design, build, launch and recover their own space craft. Worstead Farms produces as range of arable products and has Norfolk’s first Wagyu herd.


Gail Sprake

Chairman - Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Farmer - Meens Farm


A farmer for a lifetime, Gail’s professional career started as a modern foreign languages teacher and has spanned an age range teaching from 8 – 80 years. More recently, she works as secretary of the Southdown Sheep Society. A member of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust since the mid-1980s, Gail has been Chairman of the Board of national trustees since 2013, a role that has enabled her to share her passion for and knowledge of all native breeds of UK farm livestock.

Living and working on a mixed farm in the Waveney valley, Gail and her family combine the rotational arable crops with herds of Irish Moile and Northern Dairy Shorthorn cattle, and flocks of Southdown and Devon Closewool sheep, together with a variety of poultry breeds. As a judge of sheep with a particular interest in Young Handlers, and a livestock commentator.


Faye Burrage

Director of Buisness Development and Commercial - Easton and Otley College


Faye has worked in Land Based education for over 20 years.  She started her career as an Equine lecturer and progressed to managing the land based curriculum at Easton & Otley College.  She has a passion for inspiring young people to reach beyond their potential and helping to meet the need of employment in the local rural economy.  This year Faye has taken on the position of Director for Business Development and Commercial at Easton & Otley College.


Kevin Finch

Teacher - Ashleigh Primary School & Nursery


Kevin Finch is a primary school teacher at Ashleigh Primary School in Wymondham. The school has recently developed its own farm which includes chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs. During the spring term the farm is home to 6 orphaned lambs which the school children help to bottle feed. They also spend time tending the raised beds and polytunnel to grow and sell their own produce. Prior to his time at Ashleigh, Kevin worked at Mile Cross Primary School in Norwich before he spent 2 years working as a Primary Science lecturer on the Primary PGCE course.

Meet the Trustees

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Jane Townsend

Principal - Easton and Otley College


After graduating from Exeter University as a secondary school teacher Jane has worked with the education sector for over 20 years. Her Masters from Seale-Hayne and her subsequent work within the Higher Education sector within FE establishments led her to develop her skills as a senior leader within Land Based colleges.

Jane’s focus over the last 10 years has been developing poorly performing colleges and leading them to improve.

Jane took on the role as interim Principal of Easton and Otley College in August 2017 and was appointed in the role permanently in March 2018.  Jane is utilising her past experience in developing and delivering top quality delivering top quality teaching; improving grades; shaping the curriculum to better suit the needs of employers; driving value and winning and retaining the confidence of all our friends and allies across the region, so they can have faith in our ability to deliver progress at the pace and standard required.

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Robert Carter

R G Carter Group

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Robert Carter DL is Chairman of the R G Carter Group, a family-owned construction and property group.  In addition to the core business, the Group has a thriving farming division based in Norfolk.

Robert Carter has had a long involvement encouraging and enabling young people to realise their potential.   He was a Trustee and Chairman of the England and Eastern Region Councils of the Princes Trust and during his year as High Sheriff of Norfolk in 2009, he championed the cause of young people.   He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk in 2007.

Robert Carter’s contribution to the local business community was recognised at the Eastern Daily Press’s Business Awards in 2008 when he received the Denise Anderson Award for outstanding achievement.

In 2015, he was President of the RNAA and made it his mission during that year to promote food and farming in education.  He was instrumental in the establishment of the Food and Farming Discovery Trust in 2017 and has continued to actively pursue the cause, becoming Chair in 2018.


Steffan Griffiths


Head Master - Norwich School

norwich school

Steffan Griffiths joined Norwich School as Head Master in September 2011. After reading Classics at University College, Oxford, he taught at Tonbridge School (1995-1999) and Eton College (1999-2006). In 2006, he was appointed to the role of Usher (principal deputy head) at Magdalen College School, Oxford. Steffan also holds a first-class honours English Literature degree from the Open University.

As well as playing hockey for England under 18s and 21s, he was awarded four hockey blues while at Oxford and played in the 1st XI for East Grinstead in the top national league. A rugby and cricket coach at Tonbridge and Eton, he is primarily now a golfer, when time allows.

During his school years at Whitgift School, he acted with the National Theatre, both on the South Bank and in European tours. He maintains an active interest and involvement in drama.

He is married to Harriet. They have three children: Daniel (14), Amy (13) and Ben (10).

Meet the Trustees

Poul Hoveson

Salle Farms

Catherine Scott

Howes Percival


Ben Turner

Ben Burgess


Greg Smith

Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association