Tom Wilmot is a Director and former Grower at The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm
When I went off to the University of Bath, I never imagined that I would end up back in Suffolk, and couldn’t have guessed I’d be working on a farm! But The Oak Tree is no ordinary farm. The community that has coalesced around the project has brought together diverse yet like minded people with an interest in improving the fundamentals of life; reconnecting with food, the outdoors and with each other.
I studied Science at university and worked for a year at Kew Gardens, and then at the inspirational Barli Rural Development Institute in Indore, central India. Here I found a culture that reflected many of my values; a way of life unconstrained by many of the tiresome regulations and consumerist mindset so common in Western Europe. My experience of India was of how life should be; chaotic, exciting, and improvised. But at the same time it highlighted to me the devastating impact the human population is having on the planet. India still has much more unspoilt landscape than we do here in the UK, but it is rapidly disappearing under the seemingly relentless march of capitalism and industrial farming. Seeing it happening brought home to me how unsustainable these systems are.
My degree in Natural Sciences led inexorably to a career in teaching, and I have been a secondary school Science teacher for nearly ten years. I found it a genuinely rewarding job; I believe that education is vitally important for the sustainability of society and the planet. At heart I am a scientist, and contribute a scientific approach to making the farm efficient, effective and innovative. I continue to teach and tutor on a freelance basis, and hope to incorporate an educational dimension to The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm.
I have always enjoyed working out of doors, and at the farm I am pleased to be doing so as part of a strong, resilient community of people producing fresh, local food, with minimal dependence on fossil fuels and the global market economy. This is truly sustainable, and vitally important in demonstrating that regenerative agriculture is both viable and essential. Joanne has done an incredible and inspirational job over the last few years establishing the farm, but you will not be surprised to learn that there is no job description for working at The Oak Tree. The best way to summarise my role is to say that I manage the day to day operation of the veg CSA, as well as helping to develop new activities on the farm.
As the project develops I will learn from and contribute to the growing body of expertise in regenerative agriculture, which I find very exciting. Improvisation, creativity, and experimentation will be essential, but by far the most important thing to me in building resilience is the support of our members, neighbours and friends. I am delighted to be working with the whole Oak Tree Farm community to develop and strengthen our project over the coming years, to show how it can be done and so that others may follow.