Paradise Cooperative was founded in 2014 with the aim of finding and utilising underdeveloped land for urban growing and community gardening.
Wildlife pond at Dobbins Field
Our main site is Dobbins Field, an acre of land just opposite HM Wandsworth Prison, which we steward on their behalf. Once an overgrown and derelict site, we initially used rare-breed pigs to turn and fertilise the soil and begin the basis of our growing. The hard work of our volunteers has transformed the abandoned and overgrown site into a beautiful smallholding where local people can learn and laugh together. It is an oasis of green in the middle of our city, and to us it is paradise.
Brendan: has a background in property development and brings experience around planning and development. His passion is social enterprise and he leads the Mayor of London’s initiative to support Community Land Trusts throughout the city. He holds an MSc in Sustainability.
Johnny: is a local Anglican priest, pioneer and poet – with experience in community relief and development, social enterprise and sustainability. He also developed a groundbreaking vocational learning community called make believe, hosted in Bournemouth Dorset, London, New Haven CT and Dallas TX. He loves nature and the outdoors as a place for learning and personal development.
Jo: has been a teacher for more than two decades, specialising in Geography and the Sixth Form. She works at Saint Cecilia’s, Church of England School, in Southfields. She is passionate about outdoor education and everything geographical.
Scott: has a background in finance and now works in environmental finance. He has a passion for bees, biodynamics, and permaculture after having taken a sabbatical to work in sustainable farming.
Andy: From the central west farming regions of NSW Australia, Andy has a passion for outdoor learning and since 2002 has worked as a Primary school teacher, with a Masters degree in STEM learning. Engaging young minds with the natural spaces around them has always been a key philosophy of his work.
Rosie: a background in HR and Operations in the public, private and charity sectors, and worked previously for Paradise as the Director of Ops. She’s passionate about the social and community side of gardening and outdoor learning.
Wildlife in the pond
John D: works part time as Director of Operations and Communications for Paradise. He is a filmmaker and photojournalist, and has extensive experience living and working in remote locations and austere conditions. He has been involved in Paradise Cooperative since the very beginning, and earned the nickname “The Butcher of Earlsfield” when our first batch of pigs made their way to the table.
Melissa: works part time overseeing the Educational programme of work; developing new content and partnerships. She also delivers our Paradise Education lessons with local primary schools, having swapped the classroom for the outdoors.
Sam: Level 3 Forest School trained and has been running Paradise Wild (formerly Wild Child) and Forest school programmes for several years. He has also been involved with many other alternative education projects.