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FixOurFood Commission members


David A Kerfoot CBE DL – Chair


Jan Thornton MBE – Vice Chair

David founded The Kerfoot Group jointly with his wife Elizabeth in 1980 using £300 capital which grew to sales of over £80 million on a global basis exporting to over 50 countries. The company process, pack and distribute vegetable oils on three sites in the Port of Goole with a subsidiary in Poland and a sales office in New York. The group’s main markets are food manufacturing, cosmetics and aromatherapy, its head office being in Northallerton. The Group was sold to French agricultural giant Avril in 2015.

He is a passionate social entrepreneur and has a long history of community service. A founding member of the  LEP for York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding, he was Deputy Chair for five years and chairman for 3 years until April 2021. Chairman of Pendragon Community Trust for 20 years which he helped found to build a facility for the multi disabled, trustee of Hambleton Foodshare, patron of the Samaritans and Clean Slate Solutions and founder of an initiative called Smile for Moldova which supported people in the poorest country in Europe. A lifelong activist in the Prison Service as well as being a trustee of Breadline. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and was High Sheriff of North Yorkshire for the year 2020-21.

David has done many things in his life including being full time president of the student’s union at Sheffield Polytechnic (now Hallam University), speaking at the United Nations in New York and over the last three years giving evidence at Parliamentary Committees on subjects such as small business and growth prospects for our region. He is passionate about helping small business and developing the region.

He is an honorary life member of Sheffield Hallam University Students Union, an honorary life senator of Junior Chamber International, Hambleton Champion 2014-15 and was awarded the MBE in 2009 for services to business and the community in Northallerton and HM Prison Service. In 2022 he was awarded the CBE for services to rural business, charity and the voluntary sector.

His hobbies are collecting political memorabilia from 1780-1914 which he wants to write a book on, gardening, trying to play tennis, Sheffield Wednesday FC and rock music.

 Jan has been a community activist in the West Yorkshire village where she lives for over thirty years. She has been involved in the Voluntary Sector since first becoming a trustee of the rural community council for Yorkshire in its various iterations (now Community First Yorkshire) since 2005, of which she is currently Vice Chair.

She has been a trustee of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) since 2009 and is currently Vice Chair, but retiring from the Board shortly.                    Other previous VCS roles include Vice Chair of Involve Yorkshire & Humber (2010-16) and Chair, North East Regional Committee for Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association (2009-13).

She has been Vice Chair of the Yorkshire Food Farming & Rural Network (YFFRN) since 2016 and a member since its inception in 2012.  As part of her role within the YFFRN, she has represented rural interests on the European Structural & Investment Fund (ESIF) Committees nationally and locally in West Yorkshire and York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding, since 2014. She was an active member of DEFRA’s RDPE stakeholder group from 2018 – 2022. She currently sits on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Local Partnership groups for both West and North Yorkshire and the North Yorkshire Food Strategy group. She was a member of the West Yorkshire Mayor’s Green Skills Task Force and represents ‘rural’ on the West Yorkshire Mayoral Authority’s Private Sector engagement group.

She has been a member of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Board since 2020 and is Deputy Chair of Grow Yorkshire.

She is passionate about all things rural and was awarded MBE for Services to rural communities in Yorkshire in 2022.