The Board of Directors


Kate Cooper


Kate Cooper is Chair of the Board.

After an erstwhile career, she founded The New Optimists in 2009 as a way of putting regional scientists on the map. Over 130-strong, they took part in the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project (2011-14) exploring possible food futures for Birmingham which, in turn, led to Birmingham Public Health asking her to set up the Birmingham Food Council.



Andrew Clark


Andrew Clark, Director of Policy at the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Andrew leads the NFU’s HQ departments covering commodities, animal health and welfare, food chain, policy and regulation.




Caroline Hutton


Caroline Hutton was Director of  Martineau Gardens for 15 years, retiring from this position in 2018. One of many lasting legacies of her time at Martineau Gardens was obtaining the funding (from the Jo Malone Foundation) and building of the fabulous Courtyard Garden, formally open by the WMCA Mayor Andy Street on 26th June 2018.

She was also a founder member of ‘Growing Birmingham‘, a network of organisations within the city who are active in community food growing.





Mark Laurie is one of the Directors at Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS), the UK’s only trade association for mobile caterers and street food traders. It’s HQ is in Kings Norton.

He co-founded Digbeth Dining Club, Birmingham’s first and most popular street food event and has consulted on countless other street food businesses and market start-ups, including most recently the Hong Kong Government.





Jon Miller leads the UK Regional Food and Agri Practice at JLT Speciality, who are risk management and insurance specialists.

He’s worked with many food manufacturing and agricultural businesses across the UK from grain marketing to multinational producers.

John is our Board lead on our horizon scanning work.




Jim Parle Is Professor of Primary Care at Birmingham Medical School.

He’s been a doctor for almost 40 years, and a GP in a relatively deprived part of Birmingham, and a GP academic for more than half that time. He’s therefore had a great deal of experience of the clinical consequences of dietary issues.





Mark Rogers is an Executive Director at Collaborate CIC, a not-for-profit enterprise which helps public services to collaborate to tackle complex social challenges, and an associate at KPMG.

He’s held senior management posts in local authorities, including as Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council (2014-17) and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (2007-14). He was President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (2013-16).






Caroline Wolhuter is Head of Social Inclusion at Ashrammoseley, a social housing organisation, part of the Accord Group.

She is also a co-founder of Holiday Kitchen, working with community partners, funders, commissioners and private sector sponsors to directly support the wellbeing of vulnerable families through the provision of communal meals and play based educational activities.



The work of the Board is supported by Rowena Evans, who also has responsibility for some of the activities we run.

Up to 12 people can serve on the Board. If you think you have relevant experience, please do let us know.

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