Meet the Team

why we are here

Who We Are

Gina Bates

Gina terms herself as a lifelong Biophiliac, a lover of all life. 

After leaving Art collage where she studied Spatial Design Gina spent most of her 20’s and 30s running a design business in London.

She lived in Kent and spent a lot of her time at home growing food and practicing permaculture systems.

In 1999 she left the rat race of the city and moved to a remote village in the far north of Scotland where she rebuilt a derelict Watermill and became an ecological builder. From here she moved to an even wilder part of Sutherland and has spent the last 17 years living very simply without running water and miles from all other amenities and people.

During this time of extreme isolation she completed permaculture design course and studied Ecology, Soil Ecology and Systems Theory online.

Gina is an avid food forager and is an advocate for simplistic living. She has worked at several primary schools creating Edible Ecosystems and designed a nature book to help children reconnect with the wild.

In 2018 Gina bought the assignation of an 80 acre Highland Croft (Highland Veganics) along with 100+ acres of common grazing, the latter to be reforested under a Native Forest Scheme.

The 80 acre croft is being designed as the ‘first’ Vegan Plant protein croft in Crofting history.

The dream for Highland Veganics to be a replicable example of change and ultimately one of many plant protein crofts and farms as we transition away from animal agriculture to a more compassionate biocentric, sustainable existence.

Gina is happiest when out on wild tracks riding her bike or doing her daily yoga practice in front of the fire. She believes that until we see that all life has intrinsic value we will never know peace!

Sara Eloquin

Sara has been a lifelong nature-lover, appreciating the natural beauty around her, growing up on the island of Guernsey. Her interest led her to taking a degree in ‘Biology of Plants and Animals’ at Newcastle University.

After a few years wearing a white lab coat working in the pharmaceutical industry (another life), Sara taught English in Greece for a year with her husband. After raising a family she had a calling to help her fellow human beings in emotional or physical pain, through the gentle but profound modality of Craniosacral therapy, which she has been practicing since graduating in 2016.

The transition from vegetarianism to veganism a few years ago, ignited her passion to ‘save the earth’ and to prevent the suffering of animals (as well as the human species!) She started attending protests against animal cruelty and ecocide and so when GVCF and VLM came under her radar she jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

Soon to hopefully become a Trustee of the VLM, Sara is excited to be part of the team helping to buy out land to give back to the earth – never to be polluted with toxic pesticides; grazed upon by animals fattened for slaughter; built upon or sold for development.

In her spare time Sara loves cooking/baking for her family; nature photography; yoga and her spiritual practice; watching films and feeding the squirrels who now visit her daily!

Kevin Greenhill

Kevin grew up in East London and had his early years influenced by many visits to Epping Forest. A lifelong lover of the great outdoors, he’s a recent convert to veganism. A qualified accountant with two children, Kevin and his partner are active members of the local Earthlings group. They are often found on outreach days, meeting the public in an attempt to influence and make them see the connection between their lifestyles and animal cruelty. A thankless task , in a very traditional market town where he now lives, but every little “victory” which comes along inspires him for the next time .

A soon to be Trustee of the VLM, Kevin is looking forward to the challenges of growing this unique vegan organisation and seeing the positive impact it will have on the land we purchase. Watching nature flourish, from a once desolated, monocultured pastureland will make all the hard work worthwhile.

In his spare time he enjoy walks in the countryside , photography, and a cheeky pint in the local and finally watching his beloved Tottenham Hotspur football club. ​

Simon Leadbeater

In Simon’s early career he was the managing director of a social enterprise based in Milton Keynes with operations in Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire, and introduced kerbside recycling to his home district. In this role he acted as a consultant to a major resource management company, led some research into the waste management practice of SMEs and pioneered the use of waste audits – clients included Mobil, the RSPB, Aston Martin and others. He then moved to work in local government, initiating the kerbside recycling service and becoming the Director of a Hertfordshire council’s in-house contractor for nearly seven years, with responsibility for the Council’s awarding winning waste management and grounds maintenance services. Following senior roles in the third sector in 2009 he co-founded a consultancy company with his wife Toni, and now primarily acts as a small business advisor.

Simon gained a First Class Honours degree from Oxford Brookes University before gaining a Master’s with Distinction from the London School of Economics. Following the LSE he returned to Oxford where he gained a DPhil from Hertford College, Oxford. He later took his MBA from the Open University. In December 2013 he was awarded his NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety with Distinction. Simon is a Member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and is a Chartered Environmentalist. He is also a Technical Member of the Chartered Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

As well as writing successful tenders, reports and submissions of various kinds Simon has published in a number of areas. His book ‘The Politics of Textiles’ was published by Sage Publications, he has written for the Ecologist, the peer-reviewed Voluntary Sector Review, and the Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) Quarterly Journal of Forestry (QJF), and ECOS, the publication of the British Association of Nature Conservationists (BANC).

Simon is on the steering group of GENIE, the Global Ecocentric Network for Implementing Ecodemocracy  and is a also a trustee of BANC.

In 1999 Simon and his wife bought a 52 PAWS woodland, and moved there in 2015. In recent years particularly he has dedicated much of his time and company resources to restoring the woodland, along with caring for a small flock of ‘retired’ and rescued sheep, ex-bat chickens and cockerels, and a turkey called Cuthbert.