Horton Community Farm
Charlie Gray is a linguist and ethnobotanist and has spent the last 8 years applying her learnings from ethnobotany around food systems and permaculture to a variety of community projects and community businesses. She worked initially teaching ESOL and as a speech and language therapy assistant and gained 20 years experience teaching and working in education and alongside educators. Since studying she began working self-employed in 2008. She worked as an ecologist locally, designing, setting up and running an art and biodiversity citizen science project called 1mile² Bradford. The project helped people explore the local area through 3 lenses of ecology, history and culture, which was also an eye-opener for her and set her on the path of hyper-local community work.
She then began setting up community growing spaces in a variety of establishments and founding growbradford.org.uk, a documenting and networking organization to promote and increase local food. She was part of a Transition Bradford group who began as volunteers and went on to co-found the LAND permaculture centre, Horton Community Farm where she runs horticultural therapy, forest schools and volunteer sessions and grows food in commercial polytunnels and their forest garden.
She is also a co-founder of the cafe and food hub Plenty at the Square which transforms surplus fresh produce into innovative preserves and has a cafe with surplus, locally grown and foraged produce. She is currently developing a food systems course to help people find their niche and develop projects to intervene in different parts of the food system. She completed the Social Permaculture Facilitator Training with Looby Macmamara and Peter Cow in November 2015 with ongoing online mentoring throughout 2016.
She is also a co-creator of the new and innovative Youth in Permaculture project, which held its first youth exchange in December 2017. She offers coaching, mentoring and a design web facilitation process to transform a vision into a reality.
She is happy to advise on community growing, including setting up and running volunteer projects, forest gardens, forest schools and work with children and horticultural therapy for working with asylum seekers and refugees where communities want to thrive. She has applied permaculture to herself and health and would also be happy sharing those processes (with skills that span decades).
She has spent time living, volunteering and working in France, Nicaragua and Mexico and has traveled and worked with local and indigenous communities in Central America and Mexico and is fluent in French and Spanish. She is planning to set up a permaculture centre in the Sierra Norte in Oaxaca with her family.
- Ethnobotany publication from me and my tutor, 2008, documenting Russian/Ukrainian herb use: Pieroni, Andrea & Gray, Charlie, Herbal and food folk medicines of the Russlanddeutschen living in Künzelsau/Taläcker, South-Western Germany, Journal of Phytotherapy Research, July 2008.
- Podcast interview with Charlie Gray on topics of urban community farming & nature connection: Sentient Seas: Consciousness, Ecology and Creativity: fed from the rivers, Podcast 7: Charlie Gray: Urban community farming & the connection of nature, September 29th 2016.
- Blog post on Horton Community Farm’s Open Day in September 2016: The Pollen Gardens.