Lady Cranbrook of Great Glenham, Suffolk has become a well-known campaigner for local shops and producers. From 1976 – 1997 while her husband, the Earl of Cranbrook, forged a prominent career in environmental biology, Caroline was left to run the 750-acre arable farm and 150 acres of environmental grass that makes up the Great Glenham estate.
Estates such as Great Glenham were designed to be self-sufficient and Lady Cranbrook carried on in this tradition. Today in Glenham’s walled garden she grows unusual beans, chillies, peppers and heritage varieties collected in Eastern European and the Mediterranean countries and keeps rare breed chickens. After deciding to bring in contractors to run the estate in 1997 Lady Cranbrook began a campaign against the construction of a Tesco’s store in nearby Saxmundham. She researched its impact on local food producers and shops. Tesco’s were defeated and Glenham and its surrounding areas have bucked the national trend by seeing an increase in the number of small food shops and local producers.
Lady Cranbrook also campaigned of the government to change its method of charging for meat hygiene inspections in local abattoirs. In 2006 she was awarded the OBE for her services to the red meat industry. Lady Cranbrook is involved in many organisations linked with food and farming in Suffolk including The Suffolk Punch Trust, The Country Land and Business Association, Tastes of Anglia and the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival.