The Orchard Project has a small core of staff and we rely on dozens of volunteers, specialists and partner organisations to make it all happen.
Kath is the CEO at The Orchard Project. She has worked for a number of environmental and community development charities. Kath began her journey by volunteering, leading nature conservation projects in London. She trained in international development and lived for a time in Zimbabwe including studying permaculture as a system of promoting food security. Kath lives in London and has always been interested in finding ways to reconnect with nature as an antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life.
Abby is our Head of Operations and Programmes (London). She was previously Director of our successful Celebration of Orchards project. She ran an education charity for several years prior to joining The Orchard Project, and has a background in managing major projects for young people and schools. Abby has lived in London since 2007, and since 2009 has had her own (very small but beautiful) garden where she has experimented with vegetable and herb growing. She is proud to have a small part of history in her garden with her very own air raid shelter! Abby has volunteered over the years with several organisations that are about connecting people with nature and home grown food, and in her spare time is often out exploring on her bike with her young son.
Chris is our Project Manager for Edinburgh. With a background of working in NHS Public Health, Social Work and Voluntary Sector organisations, Chris has coordinated a variety of community food growing projects in different therapeutic settings, including hospitals, schools and community centres. Having studied horticulture and delivered accredited training courses in growing your own fruit and veg, he has become proud of eventually being able to grow beetroots. Subsequently, he loves locally grown, home made chocolate beetroot brownies.
When not found at the community garden near to where he lives, Chris is a keen forager and enjoys harvesting and preserving wild food. He also has a fascination with birds and when at times he appears vacant and distant, it can on occasion be down to him keenly listening to bird song.
Dan is our Project Manager for Greater Manchester. His love of orchards, apples, juicing and cider came about when looking to start a meanwhile project on the wasteland that was once the iconic Moss Side Stagecoach bus depot. Thoughts of planting a mobile orchard soon lead to the idea of making cider in Moss Side and ‘Moss Cider’ was born. The first batch was made in the shade of an apple tree in a back alley in the depths of Moss Side. Word quickly spread and soon people from across Greater Manchester were offering their apples. With appearances on Chanel 4’s ‘River Cottage’ and the BBC’s ’The One Show’ they’ve inspired many others across the UK to get juicing with unwanted, wasted and rescued fruit.
Ella is our Head of Operations & Programmes (Regions). She was previously a Project Manager, restoring London’s hidden orchards with local community groups. From fundraising for community farms to teaching therapeutic horticulture, Ella is passionate about projects which transform people’s relationship to nature. In her spare time she enjoys wholefoods cookery and Islamic geometry.
Fergus is our Project Manager for Glasgow. Fergus grew up on his family croft in the Isle of Skye and this formative education sowed the seeds of an ongoing interest in sustainable food production. He is a founder and chair of practical projects to support small scale and cooperative food growing in Scotland. He has worked on various projects including Fife Diet, where he ran the Seed Truck – a mobile education project encouraging people to explore their food culture through gardening. He loves exploring woodlands and foraging for wild food, especially fruit, and generally spending time in nature. He has a background in design and an interest in building wacky bicycle-based machines – he hopes to build a pedal-powered apple press as his next project.
Jo Homan has the best job in the world! Being Education, Skills and Training Manager means she gets to share what she has learnt from her forest gardening background at Edible Landscapes London and go on to learn even more good things. Best of all, she is first to meet the future orchardists of the world who come on our Certificate in Community Orcharding. Here she is talking about forest gardening and here she is singing the praises of training at the Urban Tree Festival 2020. She also enjoys yoga and dancing.
Jo is our Communications Manager. Her journey towards championing the benefits of community orchards is rooted in a fascination for semantics and word-craft, and a passion for identifying unusual tree species. After graduating in English and Spanish, she eventually found her spiritual home in the charity sector in 2007 and has never looked back. Jo dedicated many years to supporting refugees and asylum seekers, working both in the UK for the British Red Cross, and overseas for a grassroots humanitarian charity on the Thailand-Myanmar border. More recently, she has been working with filmmakers and photographers to communicate sustainable development projects through visual mediums, and writing for the UN Environment website. Outside of work, Jo can be found strumming her ukulele (while serenading her cat), playing badminton, and weeding on the allotment, where recent successes include growing Cantaloupe melons in the polytunnel!
Kate is one of the two Orchard Project Managers for Swansea. Having worked in a commercial plant nursery for ten years, she then became Nursery Coordinator for Coeden Fach Community Tree Nursery, where she has worked for the last ten years. She also enjoys sessional work with Forest School, Swansea Community Farm and Woodland Classroom. Born and brought up in Swansea, she is proud to have already worked on many tree and orchard community planting projects, in and around her home town of Swansea. Her hobbies include walking her two dogs in the beautiful surrounding area of beaches and countryside, as well as swimming, cycling and live music. When people can’t contact Kate, it is usually because she is 30 metres under water, enjoying her other hobby, scuba diving!
Kathryn is our Finance and Operations Manager. She is a chartered accountant who has worked for national charities such as Cancer Research UK and Comic Relief and is a Trustee with Victim Support where she Chairs the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee. She is passionate about equality, and is a Policy Committee member with the Women’s Equality Party.
Kathryn loves accounts, financial analysis, process improvement and Excel, and relishes being able to use her skills to help connect communities, improve wellbeing and build food security with The Orchard Project. Kathryn’s other interests include caring for her growing collection of houseplants, eating amazing vegan food and drinking craft beer!
Lewis is a London-based Project Manager. He joined in 2011 while also working on the Fruit-full Schools orchard project with Learning through Landscapes. A deep interest in ecologically sustainable food systems is the logical conclusion of Lewis’ lifelong fascination with nature and ten years as an environmental educator and activist. He can often be found with his head buried in books and papers about soil microbes and mulch, and visiting organic orchards in his spare time. He’s currently working on his Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and is known for his passionate and engaging talks and workshops on all things fruit tree! A self-confessed chutney and cider-fiend he puts London’s fruit bounty to good use in the kitchen.
Lizzie is our Chief Cider Maker & Business Manager for our apple saving enterprise that transforms waste fruit into delicious cider and juice. Lizzie has flair for social entrepreneurship, a love for cider and a passion to care for and celebrate our traditional orchards and the delicious fruit they provide. Before celebrating orchards, Lizzie worked for Feedback to launch a gleaning hub in Worcestershire that salvaged unwanted produce from farms and redistributed it to those in need. In her spare time, Lizzie loves trips to the coast, wild swimming, experimenting with fermentation and food growing. She is now officially an orchard wizard having graduated from our level 3 qualification in community orchard management.
Nicole is our Head of Fundraising, responsible for fundraising strategy and grants & trusts fundraising. She has a background in management, consultancy, audit and research across the charity, private and public sectors. She has a particular interest in bringing about environmental and social change through practical projects.
Stephanie is a London-based Project Manager who joined us in October 2014 to work on our Celebration of Orchards project. A former radio journalist, she changed career to pursue her passion for nature conservation and food growing and to work outdoors more. Since working on the Celebrations project, Stephanie has developed a particular passion for veteran orchards and their wildlife.
Witchhazel is one of two Project Managers for the Swansea area. Prior to joining The Orchard Project, she was involved in supporting and mentoring community growing projects in and around Swansea, and also founded the Coeden Fach Community Tree Nursery where she worked as Project Coordinator for 5 years. Her love of orchards began when she ran a BTCV Natural Pioneers Millennium Project renovating an old orchard. She now has her own mini orchard consisting of 7 espaliers as an apple hedge. Witchhazel has run a sustainable woodland and orchard management business for over 15 years and is also an experienced trainer and permaculture diploma tutor. She is passionate about permaculture design, since completing the Earth Activist Training at Ragman’s Lane in 2006. On the home-front, she is proud to have recently built her own timber frame home on the Gower Peninsula where she draws inspiration from the sea and also plays in a local band.
Colette has recently joined the team as our Cider House Intern, after learning everything she needed to know about orchards from our level 3 Certificate in Community Orcharding course. As a volunteer, she learnt the basics of cider-making in our Walthamstow Cider House, and is very excited to share her new knowledge with the next wave of volunteers! When she’s not covered in apple pulp, Colette is learning how to brew her own beer at home!
Max has joined us as the Training Administration Co-ordinator. He moved to London from South Wales in 2019, and is passionate about urban nature conservation and connecting communities with the nature around them. Since moving to London, Max has volunteered his time at The Conservation Volunteers and has recently completed a Traineeship with the London Wildlife Trust. When not outdoors, Max is probably caring for his house plants, discovering new vegan recipes or volunteering for environmental causes.
Maja is our Communications Intern. She studied Zoology (BSc) and Biodiversity and Conservation (MSc) at the University of Leeds, carrying out research on changes in UK bee abundance and the science behind communicating climate change. Since finishing university, she has volunteered with Green New Deal UK and set up her own blog where she writes about climate justice. Maja is passionate about the environment and the power of community in generating positive change. In her spare time you can find her cooking up colourful vegan feasts or training as a powerlifter!
Orchard Volunteer Officers
We have a small band of dedicated Orchard Volunteer Officers as part of our team. Orchard Officers shadow staff, help out with logistics and often take on their own projects. They generally volunteer with us for 6 months and the role is set up to lead to employment in urban horitulture. If you are interested in being an Orchard Volunteer Officer, please get in touch as we may have vacancies.
Board of Trustees
After initially qualifying and working as a Chemical Engineer, Rozanne studied Horticulture and commenced her career in agriculture working as a technical adviser to citrus farmers. After managing the sourcing and procurement of citrus and melons for Capespan for the UK market, she joined Innocent Drinks in 2007 to establish their fruit technical and sourcing team. Rozanne is now Head of Ingredient Supply at Innocent Drinks, responsible for the sourcing of all the juice ingredients for Innocent through the supply chain, managing quality, and sustainable sourcing. As part of this, Rozanne has been managing the Innocent water project in southern Spain, investigating a long term sustainable solution to balance the water needs of agriculture and the ecologically sensitive Donana National Park. She also plays an active role in the SAI (Sustainable Agricultural Initiative) Platform as co-chair of the Fruit Working Group, and as a member of the committee for the SAI Farm Sustainability Assessment, after being part of the team that developed the Farm Sustainability Assessment, which has a vision to become an industry reference point for sustainable agriculture.
Catherine is co-chair of the board of trustees. She has held senior roles in not for profit organisations for over thirty years. Her experience spans environmental and community regeneration, health and education.
With a degree in Geography from UCL, Catherine has a life long interest in the environment and sustainability, combining this with a deep interest in leadership in the not for profit sector. She was fortunate to take part in the Windsor Leadership Programme early in her career as a CEO, and subsequently joined the Cabinet Office’s Top Management Programme. This has enabled her to offer support, training and mentoring to developing leaders throughout her working life.
A keen allotmenteer and beekeeper, Catherine has her own tiny orchard with plums (greengage and victoria) pear and a couple of apples, including one grafted with three different varieties. Catherine is also a Judge of the Green Flag Awards Scheme.
Antonia is co-chair of the board and has over 25 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector. Antonia runs her own consultancy business, Abalone Consulting, working with charities and not-for-profit organisations to help them increase the reach, scale and impact of what they do. Her previous roles include Director of Hospice Support and Development at Hospice UK, Chief Executive of Guild Care in West Sussex, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and Head of Public Affairs at the Royal College of Nursing.
Julia originally trained and practised as a solicitor at a top 100 law firm but wanted to explore life outside of the corporate sector and travelled and worked on farms for a year before joining the charitable sector. She was previously Project Manager at a Jewish Muslim women’s network, bringing communities together through inter-faith work. She now works on campaigns for an animal welfare organisation.
After a first career in journalism, including sustainability, Philippa moved into the charity sector to follow her passion for environmental change. She has been a leader of programmes and organisational change in charities for 10 years, and is currently Head of Organisational Development at FareShare, a national charity that converts surplus food to social good. Proud moments in her career include supporting the set-up of Sutton Community Farm at BioRegional Development Group, and transitioning Global Action Plan from a founder-run to partnership structure. Philippa is passionate about supporting people and organisations in the sector through change and growth, and is a qualified coach with the Coaches Training Institute.
Chris Wehbé (Treasurer)
Chris started his career in financial markets, first as a convertible bond trader at Lehman Brothers and then as a Senior Partner and Global Head of Relative Value for one of Europe’s largest hedge funds. More recently, Chris has focused on impact investment and he is currently Chairman of Lendable, a business that aims to facilitate access to finance in emerging and frontier countries.
Lisa’s career to date has been focused specifically on sustainable investment and finance. Lisa is currently the Head of Communications and Charity Impact at the EIRIS Foundation, a charity working to increase the positive impact of sustainable and responsible investment and drive the transformation to a more sustainable economy. Lisa was previously a Programme Director at the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), supporting the growth of UK market demand for responsible investment and other financial services that advance sustainability through activities such as Good Money Week, the Ethical Investment Association and support for Pension Funds and Charity Investors. Lisa initially developed an interest in sustainable finance while studying Finance and Environmental Economics in South Africa. Lisa is passionate about green spaces, thriving communities and the need for people to be given opportunities to celebrate the natural world.
Carina Millstone is a Founder of The Orchard Project and is now an Ambassador. Carina is a permaculturalist, who first noticed the opportunity in London’s environmental movement – everyone seemed to agree fruit trees were a great thing, but no one was really doing anything about it. Reflecting that a vision of a London covered in fruit trees was actually not a pipe dream- the Victorians had had similar visions for a green London when they had planted London planes- she decided to make it happen while on a jog on her local common. In addition to setting up the Project with Rowena, Carina also acted as Chief Executive before handing over to Kath. Carina has worked as a sustainability consultant for Environmental Resources Management, and served as Manager of Programmes for the New Economy Coalition in the States. She has also been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University and is a Fellow of the Schumacher Institute. She is currently completing a book entitled “Frugal Value: Designing Business for a Crowded Planet”.
Rowena Ganguli is a Founder of The Orchard Project. She is passionate about all things fruit related and developed her food industry expertise working for the likes of Innocent Drinks and Abel & Cole. So far in her working life she has sourced over 100 million litres of apple juice for Innocent, managed a global supply base spanning 12 countries and 3 continents, and created ground breaking sustainability initiatives in food production and manufacturing. She strongly believes in community ownership of urban orchards as a means to bringing neighbours together with a common purpose: to nurture their local environments into productive, resilient and beautiful spaces.
We work with a team of experts, who support our work, provide guidance and help make sure our orchards get the care they deserve, including:
- Russell Miller is a trained arboriculturalist, with plenty of letters after his name, and has planted orchards in his home borough of Hackney for the last decade with his group the Tree Musketeers.
- Bob Lever, orchard expert and member of the East of England Apples and Orchards Project is a fountain on knowledge for orchard restoration and apple identification.
Our orchard leaders
We have trained and supported around 400 Orchard Leaders from our partner community groups. Our Orchard Leaders are responsible for the implementation of the orchard management plan developed with us. They are therefore critical to the success of the community orchards, so thank you all for your hard work and keep it up!