The Team

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Rebecca Knowles
Founding Director

Head of Farm Transitions

Rebecca has a degree in Agriculture from the University of Aberdeen. Her past farm experience includes hill sheep, beef, and market gardening.
Rebecca is based in Aberdeenshire.

Sam Eccles
Assistant Director

Head of Grants and Research

Sam did his dissertation on the feasibility of veganic farming in Scotland. He volunteers on a market garden whilst expanding his interest in food choice and sustainability. Sam is based in Glasgow.

Amir Kassam
Prof. Amir Kassam, OBE, FRSB, PhD.
Transition Advisory Team Lead

Conservation Agriculture

Amir Kassam is a Visiting Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK. He is also Moderator of the FAO-hosted Global Platform for Conservation Agriculture Community of Practice (CA-CoP). Conservation Agriculture is based on the application of three interlinked principles of continuous no-tillage, permanent ground cover, and crop diversification. Amir is a member of several international advisory committees. He is published widely.

Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Kassam received his BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and PhD in Agro-ecology from the University of Reading, and MSc in Irrigation from the University of California-Davis. Kassam’s research and development work is focused on sustainable agricultural development and land management to address national and global needs and challenges.

Iain Tolhurst
Transition Advisor

Stockfree Organic Growing

Iain has been an organic producer since 1976, having previously worked for 4 years on a conventional dairy farm, and he grows a wide range of mixed veg on 19 acres of land on his farm south Oxfordshire.

He is well known within the agricultural community and is considered to be a leading expert on stockfree organic horticulture. The farm is a model of productivity centred on biodiversity and green manure systems, and was the first farm to attain the Stockfree Organic certification in 2004.

Angus Dixon
Transition Advisor

Forestry and Agroforestry Advice and Support

Angus is a highly experienced freelance forester who advises on forestry/agroforestry projects including map preparation and grant application completion.

Ian Boyd-Livingston
Transition Advisor

Soils and Sustainability

From a background in fundraising and advocacy for conservation charities and NGOs internationally, notably Woodland Trust in the UK, Ian now focuses on soil health and regenerative agriculture.

Over the past three years he has trained in the Soil Food Web approach pioneered by Dr. Elaine Ingham, and the Grow Biointensive farming method begun by Dr. John Jeavons, based on the work of Alan Chadwick. Ian is also a qualified Permaculture designer and teacher, bringing its core ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share to his work helping farmers and growers every day. 

Mark Dickinson
Mark Dickinson
Transition Advisor

Marginal Area Food Production

Mark has lived in Orkney for over 10 years and has been practicing stockfree organic growing for
even longer.

Despite the difficulties that come with the marginal location of Mark’s croft, he has demonstrated that with a holistic approach it is possible to intensively produce a large variety of crops whilst integrating habitats for wildlife and climax vegetation for carbon sequestration and crop protection. Mark has produced food for hotels and his local community, and he also has experience in agroforestry, under cover growing, and bioponics.

Robert & Michelle Sullivan
Robert & Michelle Sullivan
Transition Advisors

Market Gardening Business Development

Robert and Michelle Sullivan are Aberdeenshire-based “agripreneurs” who left their previous careers in telecommunications to begin what is now a thriving, stockfree organic, horticulture enterprise that supplies the catering sector.

Robert and Michelle advise on how begin a horticulture business, soil management and crop production, business development, and marketing strategies.

John Letts
Transition Advisor

Cereals and Grains

A former plant breeder and an archaeological botanist, John is credited with being the creator and pioneer of the heritage grain sector in the UK.  He grows low input heritage grains in a stockless, organic, Continuous Grain Cropping system at his farm in Buckinghamshire using agroecological methods.

John is also the founder of the Heritage Grain Trust that aims to develop and encourage the production and use of heritage grains in the UK.

Dr. Vincent Walsh, PhD.
Transition Advisor

Circular and Regenerative Food Infrastructures

Dr Vincent Walsh is one of the UK’s leading sustainable food and regenerative agriculture experts.  Since completing his PhD in urban ecological systems, Vincent has successfully combined his knowledge of design and understanding of urban farming methods – such as aquaponics, hydroponics and aeroponics – with his belief in the power of biospheric systems, including organic orchards, edible forest gardens, silviculture, agroforestry, and mycoremediation. 

He is the founder of RegenfarmCo, a regenerative agriculture company which works with farmers and landowners to replace monocultures with more circular growing processes.  

He advises on circular and regenerative food infrastructures, combining agroforestry and food ecosystems to restore nature whilst simultaneously producing food. 

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