As Assistant Manager at FarmED, Chris Nash will help Jonty Brunyee, Ian Wilkinson and the team to develop and deliver the vision for the centre, with a focus on how agritech, Chris’s area of expertise, can be used to to support regenerative farming and sustainable food systems.
A passion for conservation led Chris to study for a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Exeter University, where he became particularly interested in what can be done to help farmers who wish to farm in a more environmentally sensitive way.
Combining his interest in agriculture with technological skills, Chris recently completed an MSc in Agritech Innovation, at the RAU. While studying, he worked at FarmED, with tasks ranging from building gabions and helping to erect the polytunnel for the CSA, to moving sheep and driving the tractor. His technological skills were also put to good use, speccing the AV system in the education building.
This expertise also led to Chris’s internship as a robotics engineer, with the Portsmouth-based Small Robot Company, with which he continued to work for a year. The company is taking a radical approach to the changing face of farming, with the help of three prototype robots: Tom, which is designed to scout crops and soil, Dick, which assists with weeding, and Harry, a seeding robot. Chris joined the product team working on the AI WILMA system, as well as the Harry and Tom prototypes. Chris also gave presentations to Microsoft and took part in a STEM event in conjunction with NFU, called ‘Farmvention’ in Birmingham, exploring possible future sustainable farming solutions by getting KS2 children to design the farm machines of the future.
Chris has brought robot Tom to visit FarmED and is looking forward to bringing other agritech innovations and fresh ideas to the centre.
‘I’ve come full circle,’ says Chris. ‘As a teenager in the sixth form I loved being outside, volunteering in woodland conservation, and I knew I wanted to work in the environmental sector. So I’m excited to be working with Jonty to promote sustainable food systems and regenerative agriculture.’