In conversation with Carole Bamford

Upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Positive Luxury Awards 2020, the sustainability pioneer and founder of Daylesford Organic Farm shops sits down with photographer and founder of WWS Digital, Misan Harriman

People 27 Feb 2020

Lord and Lady Bamford

Carole Bamford (and Lord Bamford) with her Lifetime Achievement award

Misan Harriman: Congratulations Carole. This is one of many awards and achievements but what is the crowning achievement of your life so far?

Carole Bamford: My goodness that’s a big one! I think my children, because they inspire me every day and so do my grandchildren. They are really the reason I’m here tonight. Forty-two years ago, I became organic because my daughter was in a pram and Anthony [Lord Bamord] was on the farm… I was growing roses and I saw that they had wilted and I thought, ‘What’s happening?’ I realised they were spraying a herbicide on a nearby farm and the toxins had affected the rose bushes. I later went to an agricultural show and sat in an organic tent for two hours and when I came away, I said to Anthony: ‘We need to change our way of farming.’ Everyone thought I was potty and that the farm was going to go downhill but I said: ‘We’ve just got to do it.’ It was just intuitive to me. I just felt it.

MH: I think that’s an important point. You’re saying that, number one this was born from love for your daughter, and wanting her to eat healthy things?

CB: She didn’t understand at the time but I just wanted her to breathe fresh air and I thought if these roses aren’t growing, if these vegetables aren’t growing… It’s really about the soil; the health of the soil. Whether we’re talking about fashion or food, it’s the full cycle. What we grow and how we grow it is who we become – we are what we eat. Same with our clothes. Where do they go? They go into the soil. The soil is all we have.

MH: What do you draw on when things get hard?

CB: Passion. You’ve got to have a passion for what you want and really follow it through. It’s not easy, it can be really hard at times. Some people thought I was a crazy rich man’s wife and it’s really just to carry on and keep going. One thing that really inspires me is India. I went to India in my 20s and got into transcendental meditation there. India is my spiritual home, I go about three or four times a year. You have to look after your mind when you’re troubled… I meditate every morning and do yoga.

MH: There are a lot of people who look up to you and want to take the road less travelled and build a sustainable business. Is there one single piece of advice you would give those people?

CB: Believe in yourself and have a passion. Just believe in what you’re doing, I think that’s the most important thing: passion.

MH: How can consumers do their bit?

CB: Initiatives such as the Butterfly Mark and the Soil Association certification are very important… Be mindful of how you shop, shop with a conscience. Even if you buy an apple, ask where does it come from? You can make the change, it’s about all of us having an influence.

MH: The 2020s are definitely going to be the decade of change. How do you think businesses and governments are rising to the challenge of saving Mother Earth?

CB: I think Greta Thunberg has done a great job. We need to listen to our children and our grandchildren. Greta is out there, she’s made us all listen. I think we’ve got to listen to the young because they know that it is now that we have to make a change. The way we shop, the way we think… be mindful of what you do and be true to what you do. I think we can all make tiny changes in the way we live.