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Meet the Team

Meet our staff

  • Suzy RussellNetwork Coordinator

    I’m passionate about local food and local communities and I have worked in environmental and arts-based community development for over 20 years. I joined the Network in 2018 and am loving helping UK CSA to grow. I have skills and experience in relationship building, strategic management, leadership and income generation.

    I started out organising an environmental arts festival and running a community environmental centre in the North East before living in Spain for six years where I worked with a community street theatre group and set up an environmental community development project. More recently I’ve been CEO at participatory arts organisation in West Yorkshire, building skills and knowledge in health and training and alongside this learning to teach mindfulness.

    I’ve always had a patch to grow on, albeit with a wide range of growing conditions and love the magic of everyday life.

  • Tali EichnerPolicy Manager

    Sustainable local food has been a focus throughout Tali’s career.  For 11 years she ran the dairy processing enterprise at Old Plaw Hatch Farm, a biodynamic mixed farm owned alongside its sister farm, Tablehurst, by around 700 community members.  She is a founding member of Raw Milk Producers Association, which supports raw milk dairy farms and represents them with policy makers and also works as a biodynamic and organic certification inspector.  Tali enjoys supporting new and established small and agroecological farms in flourishing and facilitating alternative economic models that promote thriving people, animals, soil and wildlife.

    With a long standing interest in biodiversity conservation, Tali is now studying part-time for a Masters in ecology.  In her spare time she is doing conservation work on land used by a forest school and grows food with a friend in her polytunnel.

  • Neil HicksonCommunications Manager

    With past careers in telecommunications, photography and media, Neil Hickson decided to change his life and start a Community Farm using the CSA model back in 2013. Burscough Community Farm  was the result. The farm is now a Community Interest Company offering educational activities to the local community. It has a Soil Association certified organic market garden at its heart to keep the enterprise running.

    Neil has most recently worked as both a commercial grower and a copywriter. He’s committed to helping small, growing enterprises off the ground using digital marketing to help them succeed.

    Having used the CSA model to start his own farm business he now wants to help spread the CSA model to all parts of the country.

Meet our board

  • Ben RaskinChair

    Ben has worked in horticulture for more than 20 years and has a wide range of practical commercial growing experience. For the Soil Association, he provides growers at all levels of production with technical, marketing, policy, supply chain and networking support. He also leads on their Agroforestry work. Ben is an author of gardening books for children and grownups. He is also currently implementing a 200-acre agroforestry planting in Wiltshire. Ben also co-chairs the newly formed Defra Edibles Horticulture Roundtable and sits on the boards of the Organic Growers Alliance.

  • Gareth DaviesTreasurer

    I am a passionate advocate of local food production and helped to set up Canalside Community Food CSA. Apart from being a member of the steering committee I helped establish an orchard and do the book keeping, finances and business planning. Recently I helped to set up Five Acre Community Farm on land rented from Garden Organic. I have also worked as a researcher with Garden Organic/HDRA looking at weeds, pest and diseases and varieties among other topics.

  • Charlotte Barry

    I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees growing and harvesting vegetables, as well as cooking and eating them! I’m a founder member of Camel CSA in Cornwall, set up on two acres of rented land near Wadebridge in 2008. So I’ve plenty of hands-on experience running a community veg box scheme and working with volunteers. I also kept and bred poultry for many years. My specific skills are in media and digital communications, arising from my career as journalist, renewable energy publicist, media trainer anduniversity lecturer. Follow Camel CSA on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

  • Dr Jasmine Black

    Jasmine works with farmers, growers, researchers and policy makers to create more sustainable ways of producing food and enhancing above and below ground biodiversity. She is currently undertaking this work at the Countryside and Community Research Institute, and was previously on the Innovative Farmers Programme (Soil Association). She has a PhD in bulk and molecular soil organic carbon dynamics across rainforest-savannah boundaries in the Amazon, Guyana. She has also lived in Japan working on an organic farming social project for the largest organic cotton company in the country, as well as with natural agriculture cooperatives and farms throughout Japan and in Japanese gardening. Jasmine is interested in how different cultures use and understand soil across the world. She is passionate about spreading the importance of soil health through theatrical storytelling, interactive workshops, writing and illustration.

  • Matthew Whitney

    With a background including permaculture, landscaping and sustainability business management, Matt brings a varied skillset to the board. For his Environmental Policy MSc thesis Matt researched how collective action amongst farmers can deliver environmental benefits.

  • Mick Marston

    Mick has previously worked for the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and for the Soil Association in Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He is a founder member of Gibside Community Farm

  • Hannah Lamb

    Hannah is Head Grower and Co-Director of Yorkshire Edible Flowers in Doncaster which runs a CSA Veg Box Scheme alongside selling edible and cut flowers wholesale and retail. 

     

    After completing a degree in Economics she worked as a Project Manager in the heritage and events sector running a variety of major projects for some of the leading cultural institutions in the UK including the National Railway Museum, Science Museum and British Library. 

    The CSA’s underlying principles and clear manifesto have been an invaluable tool in allowing Yorkshire Edible Flowers to communicate its mission to their local community. Hannah is very happy to be bringing her project management expertise to the CSA Board, and believes that this vital work will allow other small growers to flourish.

  • Tom O’Kane

    I trained in Ireland as a horticultural therapist and market gardener in my early twenties. After working on larger scale biodynamic mixed farms in France, I completed a degree in organic farming in Wales & studied the human context of organic farming in Copenhagen. I then spent over 10 years developing land based social horticulture projects with groups across Wales before returning to where I grew up on Gower. Here I have established Cae Tan CSA, now in it’s 6th season, feeding 125 local households, working with local schools, colleges, universities, volunteers and trainees. Also supporting the set up of Gower’s second CSA and currently pushing for a third!

  • Dr. Sally Bell

    Dr. Sally Bell is a medical doctor and specialist in lifestyle medicine and nutrition and is based in Nottingham with her three teenage girls. She has an interest in soil ecology, farming, food production and the link nature has in healing people, communities and landscapes. She is the Wellness Director at Hampton Manor and is on the Nottinghamshire Food strategy group. 

  • Nbuwak Yashim

    Nbuwak is a Ph.D. Researcher at the Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience. Her research explores gender, agroecology, and natural resource governance for building equitable resilience in rural Zimbabwe. She is passionate about agroecology, climate change, inclusion, and social justice within food systems, particularly for marginalized communities. She has worked with farmers, women, and girls in agriculture, rural development, and renewable energy across many rural communities in Nigeria and community food growers in Coventry.

  • Jo Hunt

    Jo Hunt is an economist turned CSA farmer and would like to see the end of capitalism and its exploitation of nature and people.  Jo runs Knockfarrel Produce, on the family croft in the northern Highlands.  The croft feeds 220 local families with organic food; employs 4 people, and is carbon negative by 72 tonnes CO2E each year. Jo has 25 years’ experience in agricultural business and policy advice, and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.  

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