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 Rosen and Neil Kingsnorth
Kath and Neil are Co-CEOs at The Orchard Project. We are enthusiastic about running an organisation that tries out innovative ideas like sharing the CEO role. Both of us love working at TOP and also want to be able to work part-time, to spend time with our young children and families.
Kath has worked for a number of environmental and community development charities. She 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 has always been interested in finding ways to reconnect with nature as an antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life.
Neil was previously Head of Activism and Mobilisation at Friends of the Earth where he worked on strengthening the environment movement and building powerful community and digital campaigning on climate change and nature. He’s also worked in a peace organisation, a poverty organisation and a fair trade festival. He has a huge personal passion for sustainable and community food growing and he can often be found out in his garden in Warrington tinkering with a new idea, making something out of wood or planting something perennial.
- Kath tel: 07977 457 395 Neil tel: 07715 407 765
Members of our Helping Britain Blossom team
Alan is the Project Manager for Helping Britain Blossom in Leeds. He loves the magic of grafting and is a lazy fruit gardener on his “orchard allotment”. Alan has a background in campaigning and likes to work co-operatively. He lives at the Lilac cohousing coop with his partner and playful two young children. When not cycling around for work or with children he is brewing, exploring Britain, co-counselling, watching his favourite football team, and trying to slow down enough to nurture enriching friendships.
- tel: 07730 216 943
Claire is the Partnerships Director of The Orchard Project and is based in Manchester. She is responsible for the national delivery of the project. Claire has a post graduate qualification in Climate Change and Sustainable Development and has worked in the environmental sector since 2008 after spending time working in India on environmental and community projects. Claire also worked in the arts sector for many years delivering a creative education research project, and in museums and galleries. She combines her love of the environment and the arts and can often be found out and about with her camera. She is the owner of an allotment which hosts a beautiful plum and cherry tree, the fruits of which have been turned into jam and chutney.
- tel: 07921 862 392
Chris is delighted to be part of the TOP team and since 2017 is the HBB Project Manager for Edinburgh.
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.
- tel: 07715 407 801
Dan joined the Helping Britain Blossom team in July 2015 as the 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… Moss Cider was born. The first batch was made in the shade of 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.
- tel: 07525 115 209
Fergus joined the Helping Britain Blossom team in April 2017 as Glasgow Project Manager. Fergus grew up on his family croft in the Isle of Skye and this formative education sowed the seeds of an ongion 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.
- tel: 07872 071 712
Ryan is one of our London Project Managers. He brings with him an eclectic mix of organisational, practical and facilitation skills gathered from 15 years working in the voluntary & community, social enterprise and further education sectors. From local box schemes to interfaith reconciliation projects, from Gaia theory to US foreign policy, and from psychosynthesis counselling to radical mycology – Ryan is hungry to understand and help renegotiate our relationships with nature, ourselves and each other. For him community orchards are a great way to help seed sustainable, just and magical communities filled with happy and sane organisms!
- tel: 07981 166 436
Members of our Celebration of Orchards team
Abby joined The Orchard Project as Project Director in 2016 to oversee the delivery of the Celebration of Orchards project. She had been running 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 one year old son on the back for company.
- tel: 07753 237 267
Jo Homan is ridiculously excited to be the Education, Skills and Training Manager for The Orchard Project. Previously, she set up Edible Landscapes London where she pioneered the first ever accredited forest garden course. The experience she gained in creating a Forest Garden is helping her at The Orchard Project to develop our very own accredited orchard management course. Jo’s favourite forest garden nibbles are: lovage, saltbush and shasta daisy leaves; jostaberry, raspberry and medlar fruits; calendula, Judas tree and Allium flowers; and chestnut and acorn nuts. Here she is talking about forest gardening and there are a few more interviews with her here. She also enjoys climbing and swing dancing.
- tel: 07714 745 408
Ella is an Orchard Restoration Manager on the Celebration of Orchards project. For the last five years she has been working on rural community growing and farming projects, which have included a two year apprenticeship on a horse-powered farm, working with young adults in a programme of therapeutic education. She has restored and pruned various Gloucestershire orchards and is excited to return to her hometown of London to work with community groups through the highs and lows of the orcharding year.
- tel: 07714745401
Lizzie is our Project Assistant for the Celebration of Orchards Project. Lizzie is interested in sustainable entreprenurship and is trying to save the world one unwanted piece of fruit at a time. 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. As much as possible, Lizzie loves to go to the coast and enjoys walking, swimming and boating. More recently, she has taken up Spanish and is experimenting with growing her own urban herb & salad garden.
- tel: 07714 745 104
Rosa is the Harvesting and Produce Training Manager for our Celebration of Orchards Project. She joined the team in June 2016 to coordinate our juice and cider enterprise. Rosa has experience managing community food programs as well as supporting volunteers to run successful and enterprising community projects. Rosa is particularly looking forward to working with our network of orchards as well as wider partners to create a delicious product, made by Londoners for Londoners, and raising awareness of the abundance of apples grown across the city.
- tel: 07714 745 403
Stephanie is one of our two Orchard Restoration Project Managers with A Celebration of Orchards. She joined us in October 2014 and worked on the development phase of the project. A former radio journalist, she left the BBC to pursue her passion for nature conservation and food growing. She studied horticulture, set up an award-winning community allotment on her housing estate, and volunteered with Hackney’s Tree Musketeers. She is now developing her knowledge of veteran trees and orchard habitat.
- tel: 07753 237 267
Other members of The Orchard Project team
Lewis is a 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.
- tel: 07730 216 944
Nicole is the Grants and Trusts Fundraising Manager for The Orchard Project. She has a background in management, fundraising, 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 that engage people and communities. Nicole’s favourite fruit are gooseberries, which she grows on her allotment. Alongside working for The Orchard Project, she volunteers for a grassroots fuel poverty charity.
- 07909 254 351
Nonki is Operations Officer at The Orchard Project based in London but she also works closely with the Helping Britain Blossom team across England and Scotland to keep things running smoothly. She is passionate about communication and using social media to help people get their message out to the world. At university while studying international relations Nonki took a few modules on ‘Food, Politics and Society’ which ignited a passion for food sustainability and a keen interest in food systems and food history. When she isn’t at work Nonki can be found photographing people and nature, writing her blog or dreaming up her next travel adventure.
- tel: 07715 407743
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
Carina Millstone is a Founder of The Orchard Project and current Chair of the Board of Trustees. 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.
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 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.
Ash qualified as a Chemical Engineer but then re-trained as a Chartered Accountant and worked for the next 30 years mainly for international charities; he spent the longest time working for The International Broadcasting Trust, an independent film production company originally set up by a number of charities with the brief to produce TV documentaries on development, environment and human rights issues. Since his retirement in 2013 Ash has more time for his favourite pastime of walking through wooded parks and countryside and wherever possible, picking and eating wild growing fruits which, sadly, is mainly blackberries, but occasionally apples.
We work with a team of experts, who support our work, provide guidance and help make sure our orchards get the care they deserve.
- 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.
- Wade Muggleton is the Countryside Officer for Worcestershire County Council and star of the permaculture world, who specialises on planting in trained forms to make the most of small spaces.
- Chris Wedge is an expert on orchard establishment and management and author of Natural England’s technical guidance notes on the subject.
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!