CULTURAL HERITAGE EXPERT
Born in Canada but brought up in the UK, Sarah has been a fan of Italy and its culture for over 20 years since she first visited as an archaeology student. After over a decade building a career in Cultural Heritage in London, in 2015 she applied and was awarded an European Union's Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur (EYE) grant, left her job and moved with her young family to spend 6 months in her husband's home town in central Sicily. The plan: to immerse herself in olive oil culture.
The scheme pairs budding entrepreneurs with established businesses in a chosen sector. Under the watchful eye of her mentor, a young olive farmer, business woman and academic, Vincenza Ferrara, she completed the EU-Italian Governmental Olive Oil tasting course, learnt to manage her family's groves, and planted two new ones. There was also time to help run an archaeological field school. On returning to the UK in 2015, Sarah set up Alivu, a Limited Company, to import the family's oil. In 2016 she won a prize for best young Entrepreneur UK for her first year of trading.
This new venture builds on 16 years working in Cultural Heritage, Archaeological Heritage Management, international development and environmental sustainability for international organisations, European agencies and NGOs. Sarah has also taught on Cultural Heritage and Heritage Management MA courses at London's Institute of Archaeology, has been a speaker at international conferences and working groups on archaeology, conservation and heritage, and taken part in a Focus Group on New Entrants to Farming, an EU research programme.
Sarah's academic background includes a BA Hons degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University (1999) and an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from University College London (2005). She has published several articles on community experiences of heritage reconstruction in post-conflict Kosovo and the Council of Europe's Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. This work underlines her interest in the uses of the past in the present.
As well as selling Alivu's EVOO, she is building her reputation as a taster and reviewer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, acts as a consultant for heritage organisations, and is studying for a qualification in Horticulture. In her spare time she volunteers with a local garden, the town museum, and is also helping to set up a community orchard, not to mention raising a young family.