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Steve Andrews was born in Cardiff, Wales, but has since lived in Tenerife and is now based in Portugal. An author, journalist, public speaker, singer-songwriter, poet and naturalist, he has worked as a TV presenter too. He is also known as the Bard of Ely, a title he was given by Big Issue magazine when he was a columnist for the publication, and as Green Bard or Green Beard, because he often sports a green goatee. He first dyed it that colour for his appearance as an MC and performer at the Green Man Festival.
Lara Silaghi's passion for wine was born in Atlanta,Georgia. Her studies led her to complete the Advanced Certification from The Wine and Spirit Education Trust and then she began teaching WSET intensive courses as well as courses offered through Emory University's continuing education program. She then worked for several wine stores and grocery's as a wine buyer including a stint at Whole Foods Market. She now lives with her husband, their American cats, and Spanish Mastin in the Axarquia in Andalucia, Spain. She splits her time between her garden,writing and hosting wine tastings for clients and charity groups.
Pete Siegfried is a consulting geologist who has spent the better part of the last 30 years chasing mineral resources necessary for the production of fertilisers. During this time many parts of the planet were visited and investigated in the field. The potential production of ‘organic’ phosphorus and magnesium rich, direct application rock sourced fertilisers became a particular personal focus of these studies. Today Pete, accompanied by his better half and Fizz, grows vegetables and trees on a small holding in Mg deficient Monchique in Portugal.
Zahrah Nasir is a Pakistan/ U.K. national now resident in Central Portugal. Trained in horticulture, agriculture and journalism in U.K. From 1983 to early 2014, she lived and worked predominantly in Afghanistan and Pakistan with shorter spells in The Sultanate of Oman and Turkey. Zahrah combined the arduous task of front line war correspondent with establishing Pakistan's first permaculture type food forest on her smallholding at 6,000ft in the Lower Himalayas, North Pakistan. She is a well known journalist/author/horticulturist in that part of the world. Additionally, she worked on establishing a regenerative Peace Project in a remote part of Afghanistan, trained Afghan farmers in organics/permaculture practices and much more.
My interest in plants and especially succulents began in childhood, but a degree in business and languages took my career in other directions, quite literally, travelling the world in export sales. However natural inclinations prevailed and free time was devoted to plants in one form or the other, and being fluent in 5 languages I was able to spread my interest and enthusiasm through lectures in various countries. Later I became qualified as a judge for the British Cactus and Succulent Society, and was holder of the National Collection of Sansevierias under the NCCPG scheme of the RHS. Alongside my regular work I also helped run a succulent nursery in the UK and then in central Italy. I am chairman and was editor for 15 years for the International Asclepiad Society and the International Sansevieria Society. I also helped found the International Euphorbia Society and was involved for a period with The Haworthia Society. Now retired, over the last two and a bit years the challenge has been to turn a dry and neglected orange grove near Malaga into an interesting garden with many different plants including a lot of succulents, which seem to suit the climate very well. In particular it has been fun to see how plants with us for years change with the stronger sunlight and free root run! It also taught us that there is “Mediterranean” and “Mediterranean” because not all areas are the same with climate variations and soil types…. Life here is fun!