Our current team:

Jeremy Iles, Founder – Director Jeremy started “doing something useful” as a cycle campaigner at Friends of the Earth in 1983, and then became the first Director of the London Wildlife Trust when he was 27. He worked in Bangladesh and Eritrea for VSO, and on returning to the UK became Regional Manager for Sustrans in the 90’s.

In 2000 he joined the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens as CEO until 2016.  Many of the projects and partnerships he initiated  during this period have had a significant and long lasting impact nationally, including  the Allotments Regeneration Initiative (2002-2014),  the £57m Local Food Consortium (2002-2014), Community Land Advisory Service, and the Growing Together partnership (2014-16).

Jeremy is the instigator and coordinator of the Urban Agriculture Consortium, and is part of a nascent Oral History of Environmental Action project. He has an NVQ5 (Management) & graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs (2019). ​

Jeremy also runs an allotment, sings with The Island Folk, and plays guitar & mandola with the All@Sea ceilidh band, both of which have emerged fully fledged after lockdowns. Jeremy is a qualified Yachtmaster and dinghy instructor. ​

Maddy Longhurst – Maddy has always followed her instincts to work on initiatives and ideas that lie in the fertile margins and serve future generations. Recently this has involved the protection of land and soils, community-led thermal imaging of cold homes, Ecosystem Restoration Design, creating regenerative Tiny House Settlements, Sociocracy and Gleaning training for communities. Maddy worked on Phase 1 of the urban agriculture project in 2019 and is currently coordinating the Urban Agriculture Consortium with Jeremy.

She has studied Ecosystem Restoration Design with Gaia Education, did a degree in Town and Country Planning, is a Community Organiser (level3), believes in the healing power of nature for all types of human dis-ease, and finds her joy in the sea, the sky, sit-spots, fires, singing, brambling, unexplainable community wisdom, her daughter Martha, Rilke and Ursula K Le Guin.

Dr Elizabeth Westaway –  Elizabeth Westaway is Co-Founder and Director of Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn) www.grffn.org. She is an international public health nutrition specialist, who has worked since 1995 as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in academia, non-governmental organisations and the United Nations on health, nutrition, food security and agriculture projects in emergency and development contexts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Elizabeth has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia, UK and interests in community-based nutrition, healthy and sustainable diets, food quality, nutrition security, food systems, agroecology, regenerative organic agriculture, permaculture, livelihoods and poverty reduction. 

Dr Simon Ruston –Simon is a chartered town planner who holds a Doctorate in planning law. He has over a decade experience of both case and policy work relating to land use for agroecology, sustainable forestry and travelling people. He has also written a number of guides on these subjects in England, Wales and Scotland. He has provided expert evidence in the higher courts and has made a number of appearances at Local Plan inquiries.

GFA Directors

Clare Hanson-Kahn – Clare is a communications and fundraising specialist, working in the 3rd sector. She also works as a humanist celebrant leading funerals and weddings. She has a personal interest in food growing, and is the founder member of a local community garden. She has been nurturing her own allotment for 20 plus years

John Newton – Environmental Consultant John Newton founded The Ecology Consultancy in 1999, of which he was the Managing Director until 2016. John’s early career was as nature reserve warden in Norfolk and Suffolk. In the early 1980s he became Conservation Officer at the London Wildlife Trust, where he worked with Jeremy. Now retired.

Thanks to Anna Nicholls & Jane Coles who have now stood down as Directors (October 2021).