The chief executive and founder of the Good Food Matters charity recently had a very special day in London. Evelyn Findlater enjoyed a trip to Buckingham Palace where she was made an MBE for services to education.
The honour marks 10 years of dedication and perseverance in establishing the Community Food Learning Centre in New Addington.
The centre’s facilities include a large, fully equipped cookery teaching building, more than an acre of land for growing food, two large greenhouses, a world-food polytunnel, a forest garden area with pond, and an apiary boasting six beehives.
The centre gives the whole community the opportunity to learn how to grow food sustainably and cook healthy, nutritious and balanced meals.
Croydon is one of only two local authorities to successfully bid to become a London Food Flagship borough. Good Food Matters (www.goodfoodmatters.org.uk) was granted funds to enable it to forward the aims of the Food Flagship programme, which are “to help reduce childhood obesity, increase school attainment and reduce the numbers of new cases of type-2 diabetes”. It also aims to ensure that “children will eat better, in school and out of school, and more children and families will know how to grow and cook real food and aspire to do so”.
Evelyn’s passion is for all people to have access to ethically produced food, to learn how to cook for health, to understand about food labelling, and to be aware that the way our food is grown is vital not only to our own health but that of the planet.
This passion is translated very clearly to all she works with. She has an ability to get on with people from all walks of life and is an inspirational role model to those she comes in contact with.
Evelyn (pictured, right, with Carole Short, chair of GFM trustees) said: “Nurturing together the land that our food is growing on helps us all to live more in harmony with each other. The younger we do this the better, but one is never too old to enjoy the invigorating world of nature’s bounty, either in the kitchen or on the land.”
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care, said: “Evelyn has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to all who know and work with her. To receive this honour is a fitting reward for the hard work and dedication she’s applied to getting the Community Food Learning Centre off the ground and becoming such an integral part of Croydon’s Food Flagship programme.”