Evie Murray, Chair (also CEO of the Charity)
Born and bred in Leith, Evie’s awareness of the challenges of bringing up children in this densely populated urban area led her to found the charity, as explained on the How We Began page. Evie also brings her experience as a drugs counsellor to her work and has always placed the building of community at the centre of what she does.
Evie has represented Leith Community Crops in Pots at an international conference on food sovereignty, a movement she strongly supports (see Our Ethos and Values), and this is reflected in the charity’s role in the Malawi Schools Project. Evie’s work has been recognised by the media and she has received several awards. When she is not working, Evie enjoys kiteboarding and SCUBA diving.
Bill was educated at Glasgow University (B.Sc. in Zoology, M.Sc. in Information Technology), Aberdeen University (M.Sc. in Ecology) and Queen’s University Belfast (PhD in Ecology/Ethology). He spent the first ten years of his career as a researcher in ecology, studying topics as diverse as arable land biodiversity, insect forest pests and small mammal ecology. He completed his research career by spending a year writing training manuals for university researchers.
He was a member of the Scottish Parliament between 2007 and 2011. Since then Bill was a policy officer for a racial equalities body, an outreach office for Edinburgh College, and a stay-at-home dad. He now works in data analysis with the NHS.
Laura joined the board in 2017 and supports the team with safeguarding. She has worked in education and sustainability for a number of years, most recently with RSPB Scotland. She sits on the Learning for Sustainability Scotland steering group and is an active member of the 2050 Climate Group. Laura currently works as a Programme Manager for the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
Malcolm Chisholm was MP and then MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith for 24 years, and also a Scottish Executive Minister. Among his interests and concerns as a politician were climate change, health and inequality. He is very pleased to be on the Board of Leith Community Crops in Pots, an organisation that is addressing all of these issues. Before becoming an MP, he was a secondary school teacher at Castlebrae High School and Broughton High School and is keen that Crops in Pots should build on the great work it has already done with schools.
Now that he is retired, Malcolm is pleased to be able to spend a great deal of time on childminding four young grandchildren, but he is also strongly committed to and on the boards of, four local community projects.
Alison Smith, Minutes Secretary
Alison Smith has been head teacher of Stanwell Nursery School for over ten years, and is an expert in early years education. She has worked with Crops in Pots since its inception, and was one of its founding board members. She is a passionate believer in allowing children (and adults) to have the freedom to play in the natural world, and to plant, grow and eat their own foodstuffs.
Dr Joseph Hagg, Adaptation Scotland Science and Skills Manager
Joseph provides expert scientific advice on climate change to a wide range of users in Scotland. His work includes supporting and developing the effective use of climate projections in research and decision-making. He also plays a leading role in communicating complex climate information, making it accessible to a wide range of audiences, and the development of Adaptation Scotland training courses. He is also responsible for the development of ‘headline messages’ on climate impacts in Scotland and contributes to many publications.
Itay Idan – is a qualified Social worker with Open University degree culminating in a Social Psychology course. Itay has Worked in agriculture from childhood in a Kibbutz in Israel. Itay has worked with people with learning disabilities for the last 20 years and still enjoys thechallenge and company. He also designs websites helping to establish the membership online facility and helped with the charity website. Itay is interested in outdoor communal education and therapeutic activity. Quote from the wise: Plant smiles – Grow laughter – Harvest love.
Croft Carbon College Team
Roxana Romero, Development Officer
Roxana joined Community Leith Crops in Pots in 2018 to work as a development officer for the Croft Carbon College. She has six years of experience in social and economic development, including four years leading on economic development in Bolivia. Earlier in her career, she worked for two years in the OECD Development Centre in Paris.
Roxana is devoted to affecting positive societal and climate change and she is passionate about public policy and poverty reduction through innovation. She holds a Masters degree in Economy and Society, Public Action and Social Action from Université Paris X Nanterre and an MA in Economics from the University of Aberdeen.
Justus Wachs, Community Engagement & Education Officer
Justus joined Crops in Pots in May 2019 to support the Croft Carbon College as the Community Engagement and Education Officer. Over the last years, he has devoted his time to community-led change-making and environmental activism through coordinating community action groups such SCOOP, a Sussex-based food coop. He has been trained in Psychology and Social Work and has obtained a Master’s degree in participatory methodology for social change at IDS, Brighton.
His expertise for leadership facilitation and nature-based work was developed through Embercombe, a rural community devoted to inspiring social action in Devon. There, he attended several residential courses, including training in creative facilitation for self-reflection, nature connection and community building. During his Master’s, he founded a Political Forum Theatre group to raise awareness on social issues.
He has spent the last year almost entirely outside, by working in the forests of Southern Oxfordshire and living and working at a wilderness-based outdoor education centre in British Columbia, Canada. There, he combined his love for creating learning spaces for children and adults with his experience for outdoor facilitation. Amongst his achievements was the development of a mindfulness-based nature play programme for children of all ages.
Other Employees and Regular Freelancers
Jaimie MacDonald, Children’s Environmental Educationalist and Curriculum Developer
Jaimie is an educator, life coach and former jeweller. She was the lead in our Nurture Children project, in which the University of Edinburgh was a partner. She is especially skilled in engaging nursery and primary school age children, and currently works part-time as Manager of Greening Gorebridge.
Tom Watson, Horticulturalist, Carpenter, Community Engagement Officer
Tom is a highly skilled carpenter, horticulturalist and community engagement officer. He keeps the Croft running and runs popular workshops in grafting, gardening techniques, etc.
R. Eric Swanepoel, General Administration, Funding and Organisation Support
Eric was a founding board member of Leith Community Crops in Pots and then an employee, and has played a major role in several of our funding applications and projects. He is a writer and former veterinarian with an MSc in ecology and a PhD in ecotoxicology. Although he was born in Edinburgh, much of his early life was in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and South Africa. He has also lived in France. He is passionate about environmental and social justice issues.
Danika Didur-Tate, Outreach Worker
Danika is a passionate environmental educator and naturalist. She is keenly interested in connecting people to their home environment, in helping people live more purposefully within their place. Originally from California, she moved here to study at the University of Edinburgh, receiving her MSC in Outdoor, Environmental and Sustainability Education in 2018. She is currently working on developing a community garden at the Banana Flats. When not working, she can be found hanging from a trapeze bar, reading books about science, or taking her bunny for a walk.