Celene and Ian Wilkinson are the joint owners of Honeydale Farm and co-founders of FarmED. They met at Berkshire College of Agriculture, where Ian was studying farm and grassland management and Celene was training to be a veterinary nurse.
Celene has always been passionate about animal health, welfare and nutrition including livestock and wildlife, and for many years has been a volunteer brood bitch holder for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
With her knowledge of the huge impact of diet on breeding animals, she grew increasingly focussed on the impact that farmers have on human health, as producers of the food that we all eat when planning her own family. With four children to raise and feed, Celene took a keen interest in providing food that would give her son and daughters the best start in life. Her personal experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the crucial need for readily available and affordable food that’s produced by regenerative farming systems which are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
‘Farmers are literally the first rung on the ladder of the health of the entire population and I’m guided by the concept that we are what we eat. At FarmED we want to explore new routes to market via the Honeydale Food Hub and to encourage people of all ages to become really interested in how and where their food is produced and ways to support a new local food economy .’
Celene also cares deeply about the difficulties of young farmers who struggle to get a foothold in the industry.
‘The FarmED buildings are intended to provide food and farming experts and educators with an inspirational venue in which to engage with a wide and varied audience. In addition we hope to encourage new entrants to farming both young and old, by providing opportunity to establish micro businesses in order to gain knowledge and experience enabling them to progress onto bigger and better projects as time goes by.’
As well as helping Ian and the team to devise and deliver the strategy for farm and food education at FarmED, Celene also loves working on the farm on a practical level, helping with everything from tractor driving and tree planting to moving and watering the mob-grazed sheep.