Ben holds a diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and it known in particular for his work using permaculture with refugees and asylum seekers. Ben set up and runs The Grange in West Norfolk which offers courses and respite for people who have been forced to flee from their homes as well as offering courses in permaculture and traditional crafts. Previously Ben was the Campaigns Director of the Global Campaign for Climate Action which united hundreds of civil society organisations around the world campaigning for a global agreement to tackle climate change.
In his spare time Ben is a keen squash player and can often be found in the parks of Norwich pushing his young daughter on the swings.
My passion is the outdoors, sustainable living and teaching. I graduated from UEA with a degree in Environmental Science in 2014. Since then I have done a Permaculture Design Certificate in India whilst travelling. I realised I wanted to learn more about permaculture after volunteering in Australia at permaculture farms and being involved in some projects setting up community gardens.
Prior to the Green Britain Centre being closed I worked as head of education which meant I got to develop the education programme at the centre. This included tours of the organic gardens, guided tours up the wind turbine and classroom based activities on renewable energy, electric cars and bug hotel making. Getting others excited and interested about outdoor activities is where my heart is.
Through volunteering at The Grange with Ben Margolis I was introduced to Greener growth in August 2018 and I soon became interested in becoming more involved!
I have degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Assessment.
For thirteen years I led the Cheshire Wildlife Trust as its Director and latterly, its Chief Executive, as well as being the Managing Director of the Trust’s consultancy. Prior to this, my career lay in local government as a planning department ecologist in Cheshire.
During that time I was active in local environmental leadership, majoring on partnership working; I chaired both the Cheshire and Warrington Sustainability Alliance, and the Cheshire and Warrington Climate Change Group and was a leading figure in the Biodiversity Action Planning process for over a decade.
I have been Managing Director of my own consultancy company, Chris Mahon Environment (CME), since 2007. Interesting contracts which I deliver through CME include:
being the Chief Executive of the UK National Committee for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with projects being delivered for protected areas and river restoration and biodiversity (iucnuk.wordpress.com ).
as the Development Director of World Heritage UK (worldheritageuk.org ), a new charity committed to advocacy, networking and promotion of the UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites.
Secretariat Services for environmental charity The Sibthorp Trust (sibthorp.org.uk ), currently working on the third ‘People, Politics and the Planet’ debate with Jonathan Dimbleby, this time focused on young people.
I currently live in North Wales and have been fortunate to have travelled extensively, having attended the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development as well as other international conferences, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and three IUCN World Conservation Congresses. I chair both a global group of regional representatives for IUCN and a similar network for Europe, North and Central Asia as well as having a wide network of environment contacts in the home nations of the UK.
I am a qualified accountant, and have worked exclusively with charities and social enterprises for over twenty years. My financial management experience has been applied in organisations that work in mental health, the rehabilitation of offenders, supporting carers, fair trade and many others.
In my spare time I grow lots of fruit and vegetables using organic methods. So I am very happy to be working with a team of people who are creating food producing gardens, and linking explicitly the process of nurturing plants and healthy eating to positive emotional and mental wellbeing.
I arrived at Barnham Primary school in September 2017 to help erect a shed for the children’s gardening tools. Having seen the problems that building work and poor land management can create, I was very keen to get on board to support the vision.
As a project manager with GG it is my role to deliver the plan that we have agreed with the client. It’s a team effort from start to finish, but I love having the opportunity to make a difference to people’s environment. We know what a massive impact that great outdoor spaces can have on people, especially the most vulnerable.
I’ve been in the construction business for 30 years, and more recently working for myself on many outdoor projects. Whether it is a school permaculture garden, a community orchard, or a 90m live willow fence, we have the skills and drive to get the job done.
With the support of our followers, friends and funders, I hope to be making a difference for many years to come…
Kirsty has a degree in Primary Education and is extremely passionate about creating exciting opportunities for all children. She believes learning outdoors is incredibly important and that so much can be gained from ‘taking the classroom outside’.
Kirsty has been a teacher and leader in Suffolk for over 10 years. She is really excited to be supporting Greener Growth with the work they are doing to enhance children’s understanding and love for the outdoors.
I created Greener Growth following twenty five years of therapeutic practice. Recovering from serious ill-health during my late teens, I practiced a range of therapies which had a huge impact earlier in my life.
Greener Growth emerged as a result of these experiences and to find new methods of reaching more people in need. The concept was developed to incorporate fresh food-growing and environmental conservation as these areas seemed to me to offer a natural pathway to self-healing and growth.
Volunteering at Blundeston Prison and working with the inmates and psychotherapists at the Therapeutic Community (TC) for eighteen months gave me the ideal opportunity to trial some of the concepts I had in mind. Training with the late permaculture expert Patrick Whitefield and obtaining the certificate in Permaculture Design cemented these ideas.
Through the connections developed during this formative period I began to extend the range and scope of projects. As the Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed we were able to include prisons at different security levels; schools and rural and urban communities experiencing social isolation.
Jackie joins Greener Growth CIC as a Non- Executive Director and has worked with Jo Metcalfe on a variety of projects over the last 10 years.
Jackie has held MD, Marketing and Commercial Directorships working with a variety of large and SME companies in a career spanning 20 years. She brings a wealth of experience in strategic business development along with practical implementation of commercial focus and support.
She has extensive experience of both on and offline consumer brand, marketing and business development across national brand day product categories and niche SME’s between £1m and £10m.
“It is a privilege to be part of such a driven and dynamic team. I hope my contribution will enable Greener Growth CIC to achieve it’s potential”
After working in construction and maintenance engineering for the past 20 years and never really feeling fulfilled, it felt like time to do more than work to just pay bills. I heard about some of the good projects Greener Growth were doing and joined in July 2018.
Since then, I’ve been involved with several key projects in schools and prisons, the work being varied and amazingly rewarding. The whole ethos of helping the planet whilst helping people is an amazing concept.
How many people can go to work everyday and say they have done that?!
Bella has an honours degree in fine art-sculpture and printmaking. She has been a freelance illustrator and tattoo artist for eight years; her work is inspired by nature, plants, animals, the human form, geometric patterns and vintage illustration.
Bella had many discussions with founder/director Jo Metcalfe as to how one might bring creativity into learning.. This led to her present role as resident artist for Greener Growth.
Through creativity Bella believes we can understand structure, visuals and knowledge in a way provides a stepping stone towards gaining a deeper understanding of the natural world around us.
“When using drawing, painting we take those moments to view the subject as our perception of its form; in the leaves we notice those small veins, the way it curls, the colour for example. We get a feel for the subject, which in turn, allows us to think about and understand the mechanics of the subject in question. Working with visual skills can really help in the process of gaining knowledge and the amazing benefits of self expression and joy we gain from art and creativity.”
Antonia joined in 2017 and mainly focuses on accessing grant funding, administration and generally keeping Jo organised! After knowing Jo for most of her life and having a shared passion for environmental conservation, food growing and natural healing, she saw the impact that Greener Growth was having and wanted to help.
Antonia also runs a jewellery business ‘Tangerine Dreams’ that focuses on recycling and re-using. She uses unwanted and second hand books and maps to hand-make jewellery and gifts.