On International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to some of our women authors, each of them very special and unique in what they do and what they have achieved. They range from pioneering builders and designers to energetic eco-activists and cheerleaders for art, education and science.
Mary Reynolds is the youngest woman to win a gold medal at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, a landscape designer and passionate soil activist. She is famous worldwide for her wild gardens at Kew in London and elsewhere and was the inspiration behind the film Dare to be Wild.
She started the We are the Ark movement, to encourage people to become guardians of the earth, not mere gardeners. The Ark, like her best-selling book The Garden Awakening, is all about working with the land, growing your own food and letting a big part of the land return to its natural state.
Mary is the author of The Garden Awakening.
Listen to the great good sense in Mary’s TEDx talk here:
Barbara Jones trained as a carpenter but soon began to design and build with natural materials. She is a pioneer of strawbale building and has a Lifetime Achievement Award for Women in Construction, a Woman of Outstanding Achievement Award and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
She runs a company, Straw Works, which designs natural buildings of all shapes and sizes and she set up the School of Natural Building to runs courses and support self-builders. Her ambition to go further led to an appearance on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den, where her book ‘Building with Straw Bales was much praised. Rightly so, as it is recognised as a bible on the topic.
Barbara is the author of Building with Straw Bales.
Georgie Newbery abhors scent-free imported blooms grown with pesticide and laden with air miles. She is an artisan flower farmer and florist, who proves you can grow beautiful cut flowers organically and run an ethical business. She is a leading authority on growing cut flowers and runs courses and workshops. You can find her here.
Listen to Georgie on BBC Radio 4’s “On Your Farm” here.
Georgie has written two books on the topic: The Flower Farmer’s Year and Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers.
Naomi is an award-winning garden designer and successful author. She’s the horticultural journalist to watch, as she has expertise in areas including wildflower meadows, woodland, natural and naturalistic landscapes, traditional and modern orchards, sustainability and wilding.
Read Naomi’s article on fruit trees in The Telegraph here. Naomi has written several books, among them An Orchard Odyssey.
Marina Robb is a qualified teacher who specialises in environmental education. Her approach brings together best practice from Forest Schools, eco-psychology, and indigenous wisdom. She is the founder and MD of Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC, a leading outdoor learning organisation. Her flagship project ‘The Woodland Project’ won the ITV People’s Project, supporting families and teenagers with disabilities and mental health issues. Marina is the co-author of Learning with Nature.
Sally Morgan set up a demonstration homestead and farm school at her organic farm because she is passionate about sustainable and peat-free growing methods. Her interest in climate change, soil, organic growing, biodiversity and sustainability led her to move from teaching to writing and photography. She is the editor of Organic Farming Magazine and has written many books on natural history and science.
Sally is the author of the ever-popular Living on One Acre or Less.
Jae Cotterell is an architect and Passivhaus designer with a deep appreciation of the importance of sustainable building practice and an abiding interest in environmental and energy matters. She is a standard bearer for the implementation of low-energy design principles and in more collaborative teamworking. She co-authored The Passivhaus Handbook, following the progress of a retrofit to PH certification.
Sarah Bridle has long been on the list of scientists to watch. However, her recent research foray has been away from Astrophysics and into the climate effects of food. Her concern for her children’s future informs her food activism. She started STFC Food Network+ to bring food researchers and industry together and then formed the Take a Bite out of Climate Change project to inform families through fun activities. Here, her climate stack calculator works out the emissions of meals and the climate food flashcards make learning about emissions fun.
Sarah is the author of Food and Climate Change Without the Hot Air, which she has made available as a free ebook as part of her climate commitment and activism.
Sarah’s TEDx talk is here:
And you can catch her on The Life Scientific, Channel 4 and The Naked Scientists.
Emma Bennett creates vibrant intricate hand-cut collage pictures using minute details to recreate familiar scenes of her hometown Cambridge.
The Cambridge Art Book was Emma’s brainchild and her first ever book. Feeling the need for a book that featured local artists portraying their city in a variety of styles, she created the hugely successful “The city through the eyes of its artists” series. To date it has featured Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Dublin, bringing the artists of those cities to a worldwide audience. She has now added a children’s book to her canon and appears unstoppable, despite being a busy collage artist and mother who also finds time to run an art group for the elderly.
Watch our interviews with Emma here:
The city art books: