Twenty plus years ago, Charlie spent time in inspirational community networks in Nicaragua and Mexico, sparking a passion for community food systems. She spent time with displaced communities as well as traditional, subsistence and indigenous communities, learning about their ancestral farming systems. She worked in the ethnobotanical gardens in Oaxaca and then went on to formalise her studies in Ethnobotany, conducting field work studies of wild leafy greens in the UK, as well as studying their significance around the world. She followed this with an urban ethnography of two migrant communities’ food systems in Bradford, Yorkshire, where she has lived ever since.
Since studying permaculture, beginning in 2008, Charlie has been involved in Community Engagement with food growing and food systems at the heart of her work, including a 3-year citizen science art and biodiversity mapping project, which led to setting up Grow Bradford to promote community led food growing, co-creating Horton Community Farm LAND centre (a permaculture centre for food growing, wellbeing and community resilience), co-founding Plenty at the Square (a café collective inspired and founded off creating a range of preserves and pickling from surplus and now a collective café and hub).
For the last two years she was supporting the development of localised seed systems through her own & others seed saving offered through Seeds of Hope and as Northern England regional coordinator (until July 2022) for the Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty Programme. She will soon return to studying ancestral seed systems in Oaxaca, focusing on tomatoes, and is interested in being part of mutually beneficial links between Mexico and the UK/Europe!