luke berkeley, newquay orchard, cornwall
In order to effect change, it seems we need 5 crucial steps:
Be willing to See and acknowledge the issue we need to
Decide you are in fact going to Do something about it;
Connect with others to gain support, new ideas and collective
Find ways to Sustain your own energies to ensure you don't
burn out; and
Use your experience and energy to Inspire others to take
action so we make the change become exponential.
On that basis we asked Luke what he thinks ...
1 What issue do you see or come across that awakens the creative disruptor in you, and why does it matter to you the way it does?
I have many issues, the main 3 are modern agricultural practices, poorly designed urban development, and social injustice. I believe these 3 things are intrinsically linked and can be solved in the way we design and manage urban green space.
Also the use of the word sustainability. Its a nothing word that can't be defined. It is too frequently used in an ambiguous way by those who wish to mask 'unsustainable' practices.
2 What action are you actually taking to tackle this, and how do you feel about what you do?
I am hellbent on bringing urban agriculture to the forefront of planning policy. As an organisation we do this through two mediums, the first through our flagship research and demonstration site Newquay Orchard, the second through our permaculture landscape design and landscaping enterprise.
In short, I bloody love what our team does. I feel proud and privileged to do what we do everyday.
3 How important do you think it is to reach out to and work with others as you work for this change, and how do you do it?
There is nothing more important. No one can achieve great things on their own. Change is always the result of a collective movement. I talk to as many people as I possibly can about what we do, I seek as many partnerships and collaborations as possible. Many people/groups/organisations I approach I know will be interested, lots I know will be completely alien to our thinking. Both are important audiences. Both open doors. Both provide new ideas. Both strengthen our overall aims.
Talk to lots and lots of people. Don't be afraid of sharing ideas. Form lots of partnerships.
4 How do you keep that fire in your belly alight without it causing you to burn out? How do you sustain your energies and look after you, and crucially, what's your advice to others?
The fire part is easy, I know we have the ability and the need to influence change on a very big scale, this drives me and us as a team everyday. We have the freedom to be very creative, which is essential to my/our wellbeing. This creative freedom allows us to engage/immerse in different ways and keeps everything fresh and exciting. Working and connecting with inspirational people also helps.
You have to make sure that every victory, achievement, award, recognition, not matter how small, is celebrated and used to take the next step. Stopping yourself from burning out is not so easy, particularly in the early stages of setting something up. Focus is key, if you can do the small things well then the big things will follow (much easier said than done). Unfortunately if you have big ambition, focus becomes a problem. Feeling close to burn out fairly regularly is inevitable, however, making sure your personal life is stable is crucial.
I am bipolar, which means that my personal life and mental state can be very volatile. Bipolar is my debilitating superpower, without it what I do creatively wouldn't be possible, with it I feel like I'm working in a straight jacket. Taking key steps to alleviate pressures and creating stability are key. I am tee total, I focus on my family, I turn my PHONE OFF at home, I play golf, I don't involve myself in anything that I know will cause me too much stress outside of work.
Eliminate stress from your personal life, in whatever way you can (connecting with nature is a good start!).
5 Positive change is contagious. Sometimes all that's needed for someone to take action is to see someone else doing something about it. So ... how do you use your experience to inspire others?
We've experienced, and continue to experience, every kind of hurdle. Nothing will ever happen in the way you hope/envisage it. The biggest learning experience we as a team have been through is how to manage our own expectations and not let hurdles dampen our passion. There is ALWAYS another way.
Genuinely, if I can make a success of what we are doing with Urban Biodiversity and Newquay Orchard then anyone can do it. My life has been full of devastating lows and yet my passion for making real change, and having created this opportunity to do so, has meant a new chapter of creating incredible highs. Talking about these things is vital. I used to shy away from my own experiences and my mental ill health, now it's a key part of my/our story.
Creating positive change is amazing.....if you can learn to enjoy the journey.
And finally ... if someone came up to you in a pub or a cafe and said they were fed up/infuriated/anxious about something they felt was wrong or needed to change...what would you say?
How can I Help?
Newquay Community Orchard
T: 07545 096859