15th November 2023
Trade organisation Produced in Kent, the voice of the local independent food and drink sector in Kent and Medway, is thrilled to announce the appointment of fresh food specialist and all-round industry heavy-weight Carol Ford as a new Director on its Board.
Carol Ford says: “I feel honoured to join Produced in Kent, especially at such a critical and important time for food. As we all know Kent is a county with a proud heritage as the Garden of England and on the back of that we have a dynamic and modern food sector based here, be that in hospitality, growing, producing and innovating new food and drink products. We go from incubator projects to multi-million pound food and drink businesses and everything in between. Food is incredibly important in all aspects of life and supports our economy, health, culture and sense of identity in our place. The imaginative work and support that Produced in Kent provides in championing Food and Drink in Kent and Medway is second to none. I hope my passion and experience for fresh food, fresh produce, horticulture, agriculture and the wider sector will compliment the amazing work already being undertaken by Produced In Kent for our county, districts and critically our food and drink businesses”.
Carol Ford has over 20 years' of experience in the fresh food and fresh produce sectors and the wider southeast business and rural community.
Starting out as a retail buyer at Sainsbury’s, Carol soon specialised in fresh food and produce and worked in various marketing and commercial management roles for Fyffes, Congelow Organic Produce and The Greenery a.o., as well as a consultant for the horticulture sector in general.
Having built enviable expertise and a huge network in the growing industry in Kent over the past decade, not least in her capacity as Commercial Director for AC Goatham and Son, as well as through her Director appointments on the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP), Kent Business Advisory Board (KBAB) and South East Local Economic Partnership (SELEP), Carol decided in 2021 to fully commit herself to consultancy services to the county’s food sector.
Carol continues to advise Kent County Council on all things food-related and chairs the Fresh Food Production/Horticulture Task Force, a grower and producer network which meets every two weeks to tackle challenges faced in the sector, in particular with regards to skills development and sector employment
In the past two years, Produced in Kent has worked closely with Carol on various projects which are linked to the agri-food sector. When setting up the Kent Gleaning Collective, a one-year project between Produced in Kent and the University of Kent aimed at helping Kent farmers redistribute fresh surplus to charities and food banks, Carol helped to establish contacts with the grower community and remains on the project’s Steering Group as an advisor. Carol also sits on the Steering Group of the Produced in Kent-led Kent Food Partnership, a regional cross-sector collaboration between local Government, f&d businesses, educational institutes, public health and community food initiatives aimed at making healthy, local, sustainable food more accessible to everyone in the county.
Floortje Hoette, CEO of Produced in Kent, says: ‘We are incredibly lucky to have Carol as a new Director on our Board. She brings such a wealth of knowledge but is also a fantastic person to work with: passionate, no nonsense, results-driven and so positive about the opportunities for our sector. Produced in Kent has a number of very exciting new projects in the pipeline and the expertise and sector knowledge of carol will be instrumental in their success’.
15th November 2023