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Who we are

Our staff and volunteers

Our team is made up of staff and volunteers who work at our headquarters in Ryton, in our organic demonstration garden and out in communities and back gardens across the UK.
  1. Lucy Shepherd

    Lucy Shepherd

    Seed Officer - Heritage Seed Library

    I work in the Heritage Seed Library, helping decide what's grown onsite each year by our guardians and contract growers, and what makes it onto the Seed List. I get the seed in a condition ready to be distributed to members and manage supplies. I still find it amazing that one tiny seed can grow into an abundance of food to eat!

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    Marcin Salnikow

    Lead Horticulturalist - Heritage Seed Library

    I oversee seed production from planning through growing to harvest. I'm responsible for making sure all our plants are healthy and cultivated to Soil Association standards, with the focus on achieving high yields and best quality seeds. I love being surrounded by nature and have strong sense of being part of all the amazing and wonderful life around us.

  3. Master Gardeners working at North Road in Mid Wales

    Project volunteers

    Our brilliant Garden Organic project volunteers help share the many benefits of organic growing, composting and waste reduction with communities around the UK. With support and resources, they give talks, create garden displays, attend local eco and gardening events - all to share their passion and knowledge of organic gardening with a wider audience.

  4. Shem from our membership team

    Przemyslaw Oleksy

    Membership Officer

    As a Membership Officer at Garden Organic, I am deeply dedicated to my role and thoroughly enjoy interacting with our members. I am honoured to contribute to Garden Organic's mission of creating a greener future, and my commitment to my job and enthusiasm for member interaction drives me to make a positive impact.

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    Rachel Crow

    Information Officer - Heritage Seed Library

    I look after all of the needs of our Seed Guardians, including sending seeds to them in spring and processing them when they come back in early autumn. I also put together the annual HSL Seed List. I’ll likely be your first point of contact in HSL. My top organic tip is for you to save your own seeds! It’s easy, sustainable and, best of all, saves you money.

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    Rachel Phillips-Street

    Project Coordinator - Shropshire Master Composters

    I coordinate the Shropshire Master Composter programme, supporting volunteers to promote home composting at events, in schools and in the community. I also support the Cumbria team, helping develop the wider volunteer network. My top organic gardening tip is to go wild. See weeds as wildflowers, slugs is a hedgehog's supper, and aphids is a ladybird's lunch!

  7. Richard Harrington

    Richard Harrington

    Head of Membership

    Alongside the friendly Garden Organic membership team, I look after our members and supporters. We like to be phoned, emailed and visited at our base in Ryton so get in touch! My top organic gardening tip is to remember not to leave your gardening tools outside all season - every year, I leave something among the veg beds and end up regretting it.

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    Richard Jones


    I maintain the one-acre demonstration garden, working in the fruit and veg beds and ornamental garden, and harvesting weekly produce for the local Salvation Army. I also deliver tours to our members and help create show gardens.

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    Rizwan Ali

    Director of Finance and Corporate Resources

    I'm a Fellow Chartered Accountant who has worked for number of years with central government, higher education, care and support, and housing associations. I'm thrilled to join Garden Organic, an organisation filled with dedicated and passionate people. I'm looking forward to organically growing the charity and making it strategically sustainable through strong financial backing.

  10. Ross Varney

    Ross Varney

    Training & Engagement Manager

    I lead the Garden Organic training programme and online learning content and can often be found in the Ryton demonstration garden hunting for wildlife with a camera in hand. There's always something new to learn and discover in the garden and the closer you look, the more you appreciate just how fascinating and interdependent everything is.

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    Sally Cunningham

    Members Advice

    Sally answers most of the Member's Advisory questions at GO and is the resident naturalist. She has worked in horticulture for over 45 years, nearly 24 of them being connected to GO in some way or other.

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    Sharon Butler

    Charity Administration Manager

    My biggest gardening success was after three years of loving and nurturing an olive bush - it finally produced a solitary olive this year. I'm hoping for more next year.