MEET THE TEAM

Food Durham is manged by a team of highly experienced individuals who are committed to raising awareness of food, specifically where it comes from and how it impacts on things like our health, the environment and the economy.

HANNAH MURRAY-LESLIE

Food Partnership & Growing Coordinator (jobshare)

Hannah has been gardening since she decided to get a couple of pot plants to cheer up the backyard of her flat in Heaton.  The obsession rapidly grew until in 2003 she moved to the Wear Valley and took on an allotment.

Since then she has been growing all sorts of fruit, veg and cut flowers for her family, trying out different growing techniques and making lots of jam.

Hannah has a degree in Politics and Social Policy from Newcastle University and her employment background is in the creative and cultural sector, working first in local authority arts development and then in a range of freelance roles.

In 2014 she started a part time RHS Level 3 diploma in the Principles and Practice of Horticulture and in 2015 joined the Growing Durham team, a move that combined her community development experience with her love of gardening, great food and the people and places of County Durham.

Since the retirement of Dr Liz Charles in March 2019 Hannah and Peter cover the work Food Durham (including Growing Durham) between them.

PETER SAMSOM

Food Partnership & Growing Coordinator (jobshare)

Peter’s love of food goes right back to his childhood and his fond memories of his grandparents’ vegetable garden and their orchard where they also kept some chickens.

Peter has grown his own vegetables all of his adult life and recently developed his own mini orchard, growing around 20 varieties of apples, many of them specifically suitable for the North of England.

Before starting work for Growing Durham in 2015, Peter worked for the North Pennines AONB Partnership in Stanhope, the Northumberland National Park Authority and Northumberland County Council.

Peter has a degree in Countryside Management from Newcastle University, a diploma in organic agriculture and a certificate in Permaculture Design. Prior to this he was a cheesemaker, running his own business at Beamish Museum, and working on a number of farms in Northumberland, West Wales and the Netherlands.

In addition to working for Food Durham, Peter manages Hexham Farmers’ Market and together with his partner he also runs a smallholding where they keep chickens, ducks and a small flock of Shetland sheep for meat and wool. 

Since the retirement of Dr Liz Charles, Food Durham’s first Food Manager, in March 2019 Hannah and Peter have covered the work of the Food Durham (including Growing Durham between them.