Prisons and plants have always been interlinked for me. I learnt how to grow food during a 3.5-year prison sentence for my role in a campaign to try to close down Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory. Inside, I studied permaculture, environmental science, herbalism and more. It helped me connect the dots between industrial animal agriculture and the devastation of the capitalist food system. On release, I began to care for a 4-acre permaculture demonstration and education centre called Brook End with my family. We manage the land without farmed animal inputs, feeding the family and visitors year-round.
Soon my land base came under threat from fracking, and we started to organise a grassroots coalition in response. I am happy to say due to community resistance they never drilled a single well. I was then mostly engaged with a constellation called Reclaim the Fields, organising national gatherings and land occupations across the UK. When finally free of legal conditions, I began to focus on anti-prison and anti-repression work.
I organise against prisons because they are our wounds and some of the most harmful places on earth. My time inside has changed me forever. I think prison abolition is a beautiful thing.
Agroecology, Permaculture and Ecological Design
“A people that cannot produce its own food are slaves; they don’t have the slightest freedom.” – José Martí
Building radically different food systems require different ways of interacting with our ecosystems – ways that cultivate beneficial relationships, build soils, strengthen biodiversity and are life-sustaining (not dependent on the exploitation of black and brown bodies, the slaughter of millions of animals or and the pollution of rivers and oceans, for example). Thankfully, there are millions of people around the world who are defending and integrating traditional ecological or indigenous knowledge, as well as using contemporary science to design regenerative food systems. Many are doing this work through the fields of agroecology and permaculture.
I have spent the last decade studying these systems and applying my learning. I graduated with a BSc Integrative Ecosocial Design from Gaia University in 2012 and completed the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design in 2014. In 2018 I will graduate with an MSc Applied Agroecology. Gaia University is the most radical education institution on the planet and has changed my life in untold ways. All of these courses enabled me to develop as a designer and organiser due to their action-learning approach.
As a designer, I specialise in designing plant-based systems, without farmed animals. I combine my knowledge and experience as a grower, with research from around the world about the viability of plant-based land use, such as veganic horticulture, forest gardening, agroforestry and more. I share this knowledge on an annual Vegan Permaculture Design Course each summer.
I have undertaken consultancy projects with home gardens, smallholders and farmers, as well as community projects and animal sanctuaries. Read more about my design services here. I only take on 2-3 design projects a year, because of the amount of organising work I do. If you are interested please email me.
I also have a serious passion for soil and helped to organise the first SoilHack Gathering in the UK. SoilHack is a knowledge sharing network focused on the soil. I believe we already have the knowledge and understanding of regenerative soil care, but need to do the movement building and organising work to get those practices implemented around the world. I have a growing interest in bioremediation and how we can heal from the toxic legacy of capitalism.
In 2013, I started a workers cooperative called Feed Avalon, which works towards ecological and socially-just food production in Glastonbury, Street and surrounding areas. We run grassroots projects, organise courses and events, and do a ton of local community organising.
I currently co-ordinate the EAT Project, organising accessible education and training in food system skills. We have supported hundreds of people to learn how to grow food.
Feed Avalon has a community kitchen we built from scratch, two community gardens and a burgeoning mushroom farm. We are also currently developing a plant nursery called Perennial Futures that aims to grow edible, medicinal and other perennial plants that can support humans and ecosystems adapt to climate change.
Liberating Models of Care, Radical Herbalism, and Overcoming Burnout
“…Herbalists should go with the flow, embrace being on the wrong side of capitalism and the law, and put our energies towards establishing decentralized, autonomous, grassroots health networks that empower community self-reliance, provide care to those most in need, and reduce the need for people to access conventional medicine.” – Dave Meesters
What sustains my work and my joy are plants. I am a passionate folk herbalist and was involved in organising the first Radical Herbalism Gathering. I grow a huge variety of medicinal plants, make medicines in my kitchen and try to share with others what I have learnt so far.
I have an apothecary called the Solidarity Apothecary which aims to provide mutual aid through herbal medicine. I make and distribute medicines for comrades experiencing repression, overcoming burnout or otherwise experiencing structural barriers to herbal medicine. I also make medicine for Herbalists without Borders in Bristol.
I am currently undertaking a year-long course in practical ethnobotany and plant identification. In the autumn of 2018, I will begin a two-year apprenticeship in Community Herbal and Botanical Medicine. I also use my passion and knowledge of herbalism and plant ecology to design medicinal landscapes and herb gardens.
As someone who has always had caring responsibilities, whether that is elder care or supporting people who are in prison, experiencing illness, or dying, I feel passionate about exploring liberating models of self-care and community care. In 2016, I burnt out pretty bad and started writing about my recovery in my Overcoming Burnout series.
I have lost a lot of people in my life, and one day when I’m ready I’d love to do more radical grief work with groups and individuals in mourning because of state violence.
“Education as an exercise of domination stimulates the credulity of students, with the ideological intent (often not perceived by educators) of indoctrinating them to adapt to a world of oppression.” – Paulo Freire
I am passionate about learning, but as an educator, I refuse to do educational work that in any way justifies, rationalises, normalises or encourages adaptation to a world of oppression. I aim to support the re-skilling of my community to increase autonomy and self-determination and use its resources regeneratively. You can read about my style of education here.
As part of my livelihood, I work as a Gaia University Advisor and Permaculture Diploma Tutor. I have supported associates and apprentices from all over the world. You can find out about my services here. I am passionate about community-based learning and popular education, as well as exploring critical and anarchist pedagogies.
On this site, you can find my workshop and course designs which are open source. While my capacity to teach is limited due to my organising commitments, I am still open to opportunities. Plans for 2019 include courses in Queer Ecology, a long-term course in agroecology as well as my annual Vegan Permaculture Design Course.
Prisoner Solidarity and Resisting the Prison Industrial Complex
“Developing relationships with prisoners establishes an infrastructure and network of resistance across prison fences…Actively organizing with our captive comrades to refuse the carceral regime is an essential part of crafting a society that rejects white supremacy and colonialism.” – Firehawk and Ben Turk
My best friend, Sam, is a miscarriage of justice, she was framed for a murder she didn’t commit and has now done over a decade in prison while we still fight to appeal. It is a journey that has taken us to hell and back and exposed to me the worst abuses of the prison system, most notably in her recent fight for cancer treatment. Another close friend, Taylor, is an IPP – a horrific form of an indeterminate sentence given out like sweets to working class people in the mid-2000s. It’s basically a life sentence for minor crimes. Taylor is a trans prisoner who has also done over 10 years in prison, despite their best attempts to take their own life. Sam and Taylor have been my biggest teachers, and my prison visits and prisoner support work is a mainstay of my life.
In prison, I worked as a Listener with the Samaritans, which meant listening to suicidal women for many hours a week. Their life stories were often ones of horror and abuse. They then entered the prison system to face more trauma and abuse, and the inherent violence of being locked in a human cage. After this experience, I dedicated my life to destroying this system that has destroyed so many.
I now focus on resisting prison expansion, campaigning for IPP prisoners and supporting other political prisoners who are behind bars due to state repression of their resistance. I am also a proud member of the IWW and am working to help build a prisoner union in the UK.
Last summer, I also joined Corporate Watch, an anti-capitalist research collective, where I focus on the prison industrial complex and how companies profit from prisoners.
Oh, and I also love hardcore, kickboxing, witchcraft, tarot and tattoos. Probably obvious. I’m a queer femme deeply connected to the land, using its magic to help me destroy cages and prisons, build caring communities and craft liberatory landscapes.
Please get in touch if these words speak to you: firstname.lastname@example.org