A CREDITON farmer has been named as a finalist in the prestigious BBCFood and Farming Awards 2023.

Andy Gray is a well-know figure in Devon’s agricultural and environmental sectors.

Andy was nominated in the coveted “Farming the Future” category, which honours farmers committed to innovative and sustainable farming practices that benefit the environment, promote accessibility to quality food, and inspire future generations of farmers.

Crediton farmer Andy Gray has been named as a finalist in the prestigious 2023 BBC Food and Farming Awards in the Farming the Future category.
Crediton farmer Andy Gray has been named as a finalist in the prestigious 2023 BBC Food and Farming Awards in the Farming the Future category. (BBC)

This esteemed recognition reflects Andy's holistic approach to developing sustainable food and farming systems.

His diverse portfolio takes in agroecological farming, pioneering work in agroforestry, mobile abattoirs, butchery, dog food production and quarrying. 

Andy said: “Farming’s future is looking uncertain and complicated. We need good science to help us understand how to produce our food in sympathy with the environment, protecting our biodiversity and climate whilst also producing nutritious food. And we need food supply systems that can support this type of farming.

“Making the finals recognises the work of the many great people involved at Elston Farm and our associated projects”.

His notable involvement in the Devon Silvopasture trial has garnered widespread interest.

Silvopasture, an agricultural approach integrating tree cultivation with livestock farming, represents a forward-thinking strategy to enhance sustainability in agriculture.

Andy’s work has contributed significantly to the understanding and advancement of this field.

Additionally, Andy has been actively engaged in numerous scientific trials focused on soil health and biodiversity enhancement, with partners including Rothamsted Research, British Trust for Ornithology and the Organic Research Centre.

His commitment to these trials underscores his dedication to preserving and improving the ecological well-being of the land.

Similarly, Andy’s partnership with Farm Wilder has been supporting nature-friendly farming practices across the South-West.

Farm Wilder selects, labels and markets through meat boxes, as well as to caterers the highest quality, 100 per cent pasture-fed meat from farms that care for endangered wildlife and work with the farmers to help them adopt regenerative farming techniques to restore soils, biodiversity and reduce pollution.

Through his butchery, Andy sells Farm Wilder meat to a variety of customers from food banks to high-end restaurants like Hawksmoor.

Elston Farm, where Andy’s business operates, has a rich history deeply intertwined with the Devon landscape.

The farm's historic quarry is renowned for its Exeter Volcanic Stone, which has left an indelible mark on local architectural landmarks dating back to Roman times and throughout the Middle Ages.

Andy is also recognised for his profound commitment to ecological causes.

He serves as a trustee of the Westcountry Rivers Trust, chairs the River Taw Fisheries and Conservation Association, holds the position of Chairman of Council for the Devon County Agricultural Association, serves as a Non-Executive Director of Devon Farm Kitchen and has recently been appointed as an ambassador for the Forestry Commission.

Andy's career trajectory is a testament to his deep-rooted connection to farming and the environment.

Raised on a mixed Devon farm, he gained early experience in farming and butchery.

Today he is Managing Director of MC Kelly, a prominent supplier of top-quality locally sourced meats to the hospitality industry and butchers throughout the South West of England, employing around 80 people.

Andy's selection as a finalist in the BBC Food and Farming Awards is a testament to his unwavering commitment to sustainable and innovative farming practices, environmental conservation, and his substantial contributions to the agricultural community.

MC Kelly says that it eagerly anticipates the announcement of the award winners and wishes him the best of luck in the “Farming the Future” category.