Joris Gunawardena is a Farm Director and Head of Production, and has experience of farm management at South Farm Ltd (a smallholding with 7 acres of vegetable production and 800 m2 protected cropping) from 2008 to 2012. At South Farm, Joris had experience of overseeing year-round production, as well as coordinating a VegBox scheme and selling of produce wholesale (to restaurants and other vegetable box schemes).
Joris has been in charge of the vegetable growing at Sutton Community Farm since September, 2012 and has achieved an increase in yield of 97% since that time, taking us to the top as London’s most productive community food-growing space. But his people-skills are of equal importance; he is the person who manages and supervises the paid farm apprentices and the volunteers who grow the vegetables for the VegBox scheme. He has mentored two farm apprentices yearly and has helped hundreds of volunteers to become confident with food growing. As customer numbers grow, there will be more opportunities for volunteers on the land and Joris will be using his expertise to manage this and ensure the volunteers continue to have a wonderful time at the farm.
Joris worked five years as a chef and together with the rest of the growing team he has also built up a wholesale trade from Sutton Community Farm that supplies 10+ high end restaurants weekly including Hix, Chiltern Firehouse and Petersham Nurseries.
Finally Joris is skilled and experienced in facilitating our weekly group visits of up to 50 people (schools or corporate team challenge days). In all of these activities he is assisted by his farm apprentices as part of their training.
Joris joined the Management Committee in June, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, as an elected member, Joris’ term of office ends at the conclusion of his third AMM which will be in 2018.