New Foundation Farms

Scale matters  to meet the challenge: we’re set-up to lead the fourth agricultural revolution in Europe towards the tipping point in favour of regenerative farming.

Our vision is the development of large scale regenerative agriculture in Europe, starting in the UK: farms which capture carbon, build soil vitality, create healthy food and provide a vibrant economic engine for the renewal of our countryside.

Our mission is to acquire farms and transform them into a vibrant network that is environmentally, socially and economically regenerative. We do this by working with the ability of natural systems to regenerate themselves.

We work through a best-in-class approach which is proven internationally.

It is called holistic management and it is already restoring land in every ecological and economic context – from organic sugar cane in tropical Brazil, to ranches on the prairies of North America.

As we acquire and then transform farms, we will build the capacity of a new generation of farmers to flourish and once again be able to afford their businesses in new models of ownership, and be able to pass them on to future generations.

New Foundation Farms: we’re building a new foundation for all our futures in partnership with nature.

Founding Partners

p mark drewell

P. Mark Drewell M.A. (OXON), FRSA

Mark brings a wealth of expertise and business experience from a career as a change agent and innovator.

His agriculture and land management experience includes seven years chairing a 35,000-hectare mixed farming, conservation and tourism enterprise in South Africa as well as co-owning a 700 hectare farm and conference centre where he applied regenerative farming to restore degraded land and improve economic performance. He has also served in the UK as a director of the Biodynamic Land Trust which owns and manages farms for ecological outcome. In a wider conservation context, he has chaired the largest local environmental NGO in Southern Africa which pioneered techniques of working with farmers to improve conservation and social impacts while simultaneously making them more economically productive.

Educated at Oxford University, Mark’s business career included a decade on the executive committee of a South African multinational with operations in 30+ countries including across Europe. As the executive responsible for investor relations in two listed companies, he has worked extensively with investors worldwide. He has served in numerous leadership roles in society including Founding Chair and CEO of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative – 100 global companies and business schools transforming leadership development at the world’s 20,000 business schools. He has served advisory boards at The University of Pretoria, South Africa, The University of Cumbria, UK and The Business School of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Professionally, Mark is also a brand and communications expert and served on the board of the 14,000-member International Association of Business Communicators, also chairing their world conference. In thought leadership, he is co-author of The Rise of the Meaningful Economy. Its ground-breaking insights explore how meaning has become a new currency changing our economic choices in terms of what we buy, where we work, how we invest and how we run our organisations.

Marcus Link

Marcus Link BA, DipRS, CertHum, FRSA

Marcus is an entrepreneur who has led a range of agricultural projects which inform his thinking around what is possible and the opportunity gap from conventional practices. At Riverford Farm Foods (which is the market leader in organic vegetable box schemes in the UK), he was instrumental in scaling up the meat box home delivery side of the business from a small local scheme to a major national player. He has established a Masters programme Researching Agroecology at Crossfields Institute and led the planning and bid phase of a biodynamic community-supported agriculture scheme (CSA) on the Dartington Hall Estate in Devon. He recently co-authored for the national Food, Farming & Countryside Commission a substantial research piece on the economic dimensions and bankability of agroecological approaches with regard to the creation of an Agroecology Development Bank in the UK.

Marcus brings a deep for-purpose mindset and an entrepreneurial drive to New Foundation Farms. He has developed his skills in a series of business opportunities in new technologies and emerging industries at executive and board level. His experience covers start-up, high-growth and turnaround situations across food and farming, digital platforms, renewable energy, education and cultural organisations.

In his early career, Marcus co-founded the vertical online marketplace windpoweronline.com and the ecommerce development and digital marketing agency Vu Online Ltd.

From 2012 to 2019, first as chairman of the board then as chair of the executive leadership team, Marcus led the restructure and turnaround of an alternative co-educational independent day and boarding school.

Marcus studied philosophy, religious studies and business. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

christopher cooke

Christopher Cooke MSC, BA, INLPTA

Christopher is Managing Director of 5 Deep Limited (Incorporated April 2001) a specialist change management company that was established as an experiment to explore the leading edge of the science and practice of complexity-aware organisational and social change.

In 2015, 5 Deep was appointed as the as the sole UK’s hub organisation for the Savory Institute under the brand 3LM. Christopher is both an accredited educator and full field professional with Savory Institute.

A water engineer by background, Christopher is an expert coach, mentor, trainer and facilitator who works at the cutting edge of innovation and change in multiple arenas from technologies to organisational development. He also advises on and delivers advanced training for the owners and trainers of Erickson Coaching International for whom he has recently delivered programmes in China and The Crimea.

Christopher brings a wealth of broad and specialised experience and expertise in his support for New Foundation Farms. His notable past strategic leadership roles have included:

  • The implementation of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for the recording of underground assets across Yorkshire (1989 – 2003);
  • Board level Change Agent, Yorkshire Water (1992 – 1997);
  • Managing Director, based in S E Asia, of a UK Water Company / Australian Mining Conglomerate, Joint Venture in S E Asia (1994 to 1996);
  • Large-scale social-change pilots in former coalfield areas in Yorkshire (1997-2000);
  • Strategic design and implementation of NHS Health Action Zones across the UK (1998 – 2001);
  • The design and implementation of Full Spectrum Thought Leadership training and education (1998 – current);
  • Managing Director of a Swiss Research Company (2004-2005);
  • Mentor, Strategic Adviser and Practice Manager for a UK Home Building Company (2003 to 2008);
  • The strategic redesign, leadership mentoring, and facilitation of the re-creation of a medical school in the Texas Medical Centre, Houston (2004-2007);
  • The establishment of large-scale social engagement known as Be the Change in the UK and USA (2004-2007);
  • Interim CEO (2008-2012) of a UK Foundation, with two Australian subsidiaries, focused on the recovery and regeneration of soil following the failure of conventional farming methods during profound drought in New South Wales Australia;
  • Technical and Regenerative practice adviser in institutional funds placement (2009-2012).
sheila cooke

Sheila Cooke BA, MBA

Sheila Cooke is the lead Director for 3LM, which acts as the Savory Institute hub for the UK and Ireland. As a Savory Institute accredited educator and Field Professional, she educates and advises farmers and business leaders in Holistic Management: a framework which informs high-quality decision-making, by providing people the insights and management tools needed to work with a full awareness of nature.

She holds an MBA in international business, and a BA in sociology/anthropology, and worked in international business for twenty years, including 5 years as a general manager in Japan. This was followed by a career as a facilitator and educator which led her to become a customer of 5 Deep Limited in 2011.

She is a qualified trainer for the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, and developed and facilitated courses at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN) in Rome.

Sheila is really inspired by 3LM’s network of producers, brands and retailers, professionals, and consumers who seek, through constant innovation, to change the paradigm of farming from extractive to regenerative.

Through 5 Deep Limited, working with Christopher, she has been developing plans for the large-scale adoption of Regenerative Agriculture across Europe since the development of the 3LM offering in 2014.

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