Meet the core team

Common Soil is a cooperative, held up by all our members, and run by a core committed group of people working together for a common goal.

The everyday team carries out the physical and computer-based work of running the organisation and a management committee meets to oversee that work. There is crossover of people on the management committee and the everyday team. Elections for the management committee, made up of members, are held at the Annual General Meeting.

We don’t have job titles as such, but different areas of focus, based on our differing strengths and interests. Some of us receive money for our work, some of us don’t, depending on need of the individual and the organisation. Here are the core team:

Allison Barnett (grower)

Focus: I coordinate the growing of fruit and vegetables in the original market garden area. I also manage the maintenance of the wider field areas and hedges. My great interest is growing what might be needed to sustain us in the absence of a wider infrastructure.

Background: I’ve worked in the areas of both medical science and holistic therapy. These led onto an understanding of the importance of healthy soil, food and nutrition and my passion for sharing and inspiring others.

Loves: Learning about the changing ideas in horticulture; working with others in our beautiful landscape; small building projects; singing; indoor and outdoor crafts. Learning how to evolve in the dynamics of community life.

Ama Crowe (grower)

Focus: I’m focused on the field-scale food production, including all the sowing and tending of tiny plants.

Background: I’m passionate about transforming the whole food system, and have a background in campaigning for food justice, working on Government policy to grassroots action and everywhere in between. I happily switched the policy documents for hands in the soil a few years ago, but still combine growing work with work as a facilitator for social movements.

Loves: Being outside, adventures, mountains, supporting people, finding ways to make the world a better place.

Bernard Jarman
(management committee)

Focus: I’m a founding member of Common Soil with a supportive and advisory role in the carrying group. I bring experience of biodynamic farming and growing, community supported agriculture and an awareness for the sovereignty of the human spirit.

Background: I’m a co-founder of Stroud Community Agriculture which has been operating successfully for twenty years, have spent 15 years managing the Biodynamic Association, care for the gardens at Hawkwood and actively support a number of social initiatives in the area.

Loves: Meeting people and joining in with festivities, sharing ideas and working to make the world a better and more human place to live in.

Daniela Ubsdell (grower)

Focus: I spend my time on this beautiful land in the Slad Valley planting, tending and harvesting the vegetables and have a particular interest in culinary and medicinal herbs.

Background: My background has been in teaching children. I started teaching English in Taiwan for a summer and loved it so much that I continued teaching language, art and crafts. I have now turned happily from teaching to garden work and shifted my attention from children to plants. I first got involved in growing food at this site in a transition time in my life where being outside in nature seemed the only thing that I wanted to do. I am inspired by all that has been achieved and still love going to work.

Loves: Digging and weeding (amazingly enough!), seeing things evolve and grow especially when it’s creating spaces for people to enjoy. I love seeing full veg boxes. My favourite area of interest is adding herbs to the boxes knowing that people will get the added benefits that herbs can bring to our digestion and health.

Georgie Anstey

Focus: I’m the initial point of contact for members and volunteers. I do the communication, administrative and finance work and a lot of the fundraising. I also pack the veg boxes each week and organise the community events.

Background: I worked for the National Council for Voluntary organisations, supporting charities and voluntary groups to be strong and make the biggest difference. I still do freelance consultancy work with voluntary organisations, alongside Common Soil work.

Loves: Chatting to members, campfires, autumn, parsnips, the satisfaction of the veg dividing well into the boxes, seeing groups of children run wild at the field, bringing people together to celebrate the seasons.

Tamsin Leighton-Boyce (grower)

Focus: I mainly work with the propagation and general care of the plants. I’m also interested in making fermented plant juices and other ‘potions’ to feed the vegetables and the soil.

Background: I’m usually found teaching jewellery making, but have also previously worked in gardening, horticulture and community arts projects.

Loves: Making campfires, growing good food with good people, seeing Common Soil grow.