I have a passion for utilising the well being and environmental benefits of gardening, urban food growing, transforming harvests into scrumptious meals, and supporting others to do the same. To me, equipping people with the knowledge and practical skills to grow their own healthy food contributes to restoring food sovereignty to the grassroots, and for us to be less reliant on the harmful inputs used by the global agroindustry, one potato at a time! Here are some of my roles, past and present which epitomise the above:
- From 2013 until present I have delivered weekly environmental and therapeutic horticulture sessions at various locations in Salford on behalf of START in Salford Wellbeing and Creative Arts Centre. Beneficiaries include patients at a secure psychiatric unit and homeless individuals who stay at an overnight shelter.
- During the last few years I have delivered community orchard fruit tree pruning training sessions on behalf of Sow the City and The Urban Orchard Project.
- Since 2011 I have jointly with Celia Hooson and Jess Mock, or solely, coordinated horticulture projects to help marginalised people including at Manchester Secondary PRU, New Horizons and Rack House Primary School in Wythenshawe. See the Projects & Bespoke sessions page for more details.
- From 2009 I have been a co-coordinator of Abundance Manchester, an award-winning community group which harvests, and redistributes surplus fruit & veg to groups in need. I also delivered weekly food growing workshops to some of our recipient groups and helped to manage a community orchard.
- In 2008 I qualified as a teacher of Citizenship Education with Humanities from the University of Exeter, plus gained training experience at Torbay School for students with complex emotional needs; I utilised my previous study and work experience to engage students with ideas about corporate social responsibility and taking action on this at different levels of influence.
- After qualifying I gained teaching experience in schools across Manchester, plus delivered education workshops for Manchester’s GAP Unit to raise awareness among students about issues facing asylum seekers in the UK.
- Through my political and economic knowledge and interests in food I was a researcher and writer for the Manchester-based Ethical Consumer magazine (2006-2007), specialising in food and drink issues. 1) Ethical Consumer – smoothies report 2) Ethical Consumer – spirits report 3) Abundance article Ethical Consumer Sept 2010 4) Ethical Consumer Main Report Computers
- I have a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester which critiqued Global North-South, public-private-partnerships (PPPs) to capacity build in crop biotechnology for which I conducted qualitative research in Mexico and the US; since 2004 I have taught and later convened a practical Study Skills course in Social Sciences at this university.