Pauline Pears first joined the organisation - then known as the Henry Doubleday Research Association - as a research assistant in 1977. At that time, she was working for the charity’s founder Lawrence D Hills at a one-acre site in Bocking, Essex.
Pauline has held many different roles since that time. In recent years, she has worked as the Editor of the members’ magazine The Organic Way and Publishing Editor. She has authored a dozen books on various aspects of organic growing, including the Encyclopaedia of Organic Gardening, and has regularly represented the charity in the media.
“In the 1970s, organic gardening was definitely ‘fringe’,” says Pauline. “When I left my job testing weedkillers with a major agrochemical company to move to HDRA, my then colleagues predicted a short, dead-end, career.
“Now 35 years on - with that agrochemical company long gone and Garden Organic thriving - I think I’ve proved them wrong. I certainly made the right choice. During my long service with Garden Organic, I have seen some incredible changes in the organic movement. Organic gardening is now the norm for the majority of gardeners and organic food and farming has expanded beyond belief. I’m very proud to have been part of that.”
Pauline adds: “When I joined, the staff consisted of Lawrence D Hills, Jackie and Alan Gear, a gardener, a few students and some part-time office staff. We worked out of sheds and prefabs. But when Jackie and Alan moved the organisation to Ryton Gardens, Coventry, in the mid-1980s, membership rocketed - as did interest from the media.”
Lawrence Hills retired with the move to Ryton, so Pauline took over his advisory work, and established the charity’s Organic Gardening Advisory Service. She was also one of the presenters on the successful TV series “All Muck and Magic?” based at Ryton Gardens in the late 1980s.
Pauline adds: “It may not be fashionable these days to stay in the same job for quite as long as I have done, but I have done so many different things. Garden Organic has given me so many opportunities that I feel as if I have had many jobs over the last 35 years.”
Pauline may be retiring from Garden Organic, but will be taking up a freelance career in organic gardening education, writing and training
Myles Bremer, Chief Executive of Garden Organic, says: “Pauline was only the tenth member of staff to join the charity. She has made an amazing contribution to Garden Organic’s growth and success since then. So we are delighted that even now Pauline has retired as a member of staff, she will continue to write for The Organic Way.”