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 chairing the Growing Together partnership (2014-16).
Jeremy is currently developing the urban agriculture consortium, and is part of a nascent Green History 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 with the All at Sea ceilidh band, both of which are slowly emerging from lockdown. In November 2018 Jeremy passed his Yachtmaster exam and is a qualified sailing 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 is an international public health and nutrition specialist, who has worked as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in academia, NGOs and the UN on health, nutrition, food security and agriculture projects in emergency and development contexts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. She has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia and research interests in regenerative agroecology, food quality, community-based nutrition, social prescribing, and regenerative healthcare. Elizabeth met Jeremy at CTRL-Shift: An Emergency Summit for Change in Wigan in March 2018 and has been advisor to the Urban Agriculture Consortium. She lives in Swansea, is currently undertaking two Health Promotion courses at Swansea University, and enjoys observing the ever-changing sea and skyscapes of Swansea Bay.
Anna Nicholls – Co- founder of GFA. Degree in Environmental Science, Anna has a background in fish farming on a family farm in France. She worked as a senior manager alongside Jeremy at the Federation of City Farm and Community Gardens in Bristol. She currently works as policy advisor at DEFRA
Jane Coles – Sustainable Business Consultant Degree in Economics, Jane has 25 years’ experience of fund assembly, business planning, & project management systems. She has worked for HM Treasury, as a senior consultant for government & healthcare practices, & for Sustrans where she met Jeremy. She currently works for the Forestry Commission
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.