Hello, I’m George and I am proud to be the Founder and Executive Chairman of Cultivate Aberdeen. I established the organisation in 2018 in response to the need of having an organisation that was committed to supporting and facilitating community growing across the City.
Prior to moving to Aberdeen I was a Member of Youth Parliament for Pendle and sat on the Pendle Children and Young People’s Trust (now Lancashire Children and Young People’s Trust) working with a number of delivery partners to enable the outcomes and aspirations identified in the People’s Plan to be realised, with one of those outcomes being better access to food. Food has always played an important role in the community that I grew up in, being close to rural areas and local farmland, and through these connections an appreciation for food as borne that went beyond just describing what we ate. Food is a catalyst; from which we find nourishment and sustenance, a healthy balanced diet and physical wellbeing, increased positive mental health along with many others benefits some of which are measured socially through the food we share and the conversations that derive from it. It was for these reasons that I established Edible Pendle whilst as a Youth MP, drawing on the Incredible Edible movement, before eventually brining the concept to Aberdeen with a local plan developed and delivered by local communities who all share in Cultivate’s vision to create a kind, confident, and connected community through the power of food growing.
Aside from Cultivate I have just completed my undergraduate studies in History at the University of Aberdeen and shall continue to pursue an academic path by leaping into an Accelerated LLB in Law with English Law, again in Aberdeen from 2020-2022. Throughout my studies, I have also worked in community policing as a Special Constable, first based as a response cop in Rosemount before joining the LPU in Torry – where our first Edible Community Garden will be based – and I have worked for two years in volunteer management first for the STEM Ambassador project before moving to my current position with Police Care UK looking after the recruitment and retention of volunteers across 13 forces from Police Scotland down to Merseyside.
In December of last year, I was pleased to join Generations Working Together as a Trustee who are Scotland’s national centre for excellence in promoting and delivering intergenerational practice across the country. Intergenerational Practice is a concept that is slowly growing more traction across Scotland with decision-makers and policy drafters, and through my role at Cultivate we are certainly promoting that ethos with our community growers; sharing their knowledge and experience for the benefit of future generations.
In my spare time, I really enjoy being in the outdoors and discovering the beauty in where we live. Despite living in Aberdeen for four years there is still so much to discover. I love to cycle and during lockdown I invested in a new bike and started adding new recipes to my repertoire. I love music, theatre, and I’m a slow convert to the gym- but we’ll get there!
Cultivate Aberdeen is about growing, but how we grow and the types of communities we want to grow are equally as important to the food we grow within them. We have the ability to create a kinder, fairer, more connected community and throughout the recent and ongoing COVID-19 crisis we have seen how people respond to make more resilient communities with amply kindness sprinkled throughout. If we can do our part in helping facilitate that through food-growing then that will be a job well done and I am so proud of where we are in just a short time and the wonderful people we have around us to support it.