About Us

The Secret Seed Society was founded in 2009 by a team lead by mother and daughter, Shena & Amy Cooper. Their vision was to give children exciting hands-on experience of growing, cooking and eating vegetables. They are out to prove that children love veg! Watch Amy's TEDx talk to hear how

Secret Seed Society is a social enterprise making growing and eating food so much fun it's quite literally child's play.

Our dream is that by families enjoying vegetables their diets will shift increasing health and reducing environmental impact.

Shena Cooper

Creator of Seed City

My experiences in education, my interest in society, and years of enjoying growing my own vegetables have driven me to bring Seed City to a mass audience through the Secret Seed Society.

At the end of 2008 I began populating Seed City with fantasy vegetable characters.They live in an urban environment leading interesting, challenging and sometimes idyllic human lives.

Valentina Cavallini

Our Illustrator

I started my first allotment in Bristol this year - so when I'm not cutting and sticking the characters, I'm digging and picking the most delicious vegetables!

The collage of painted paper, photographs and found materials allows me to recycle off cuts of paper and fabric, used envelopes, old wrapping paper, bits of old postcards and letters, out of date newspapers, fallen buttons - all the little things I find beautiful. I enjoy “rescuing” these scraps and bringing them to life with creativity and imagination. It's been great fun creating characters out of the peculiar shapes, colours and textures of the vegetables.

For more information visit www.valentinaimages.co.uk.

Menka Parekh

Strategic entrepreneur type

I've always been fascinated by what it takes for us to be happy, and how we can design and share our lives on this little blue planet. Looking at challenges we face in health, climate change, poverty and water stress there is clearly room for new ideas. I am drawn to the market as a place to experiment, prove new models, and shift society in new directions.

When I graduated from Cambridge University I was lucky to join the United Nations in a role that was supporting and scaling new business models for sustainability. I then began working as a strategist with Barclays Bank on their sustainable product and service innovations. I've also trained as a futurist. I've only spent 6 years in this sector but it's exciting how far it's moved.

Inspiration comes from everywhere but particularly from designers, entrepreneurs, artists and academics who are disrupting the status-quo, and so I've helped develop the Hub as a new kind of space to support and connect these people. Collaboration is pretty fundamental to everything I do, I find the open approach really speeds up the innovation process.

My family has a fruit and veg trading company and hanging out at a port one day watching the big ships come in, I was struck by the opportunity in local and organic production to create more affordable, healthy and lower-carbon ways of feeding ourselves.

Amy Cooper

Master of adventure

I left the countryside village where I spent my childhood at 14 years old to come and dance in London. I’m amazed that I’m still here, but then I love it. Over the last four years I have started to search out the green space and grow some food in the nooks and crannies around my East London home.

I have spent over 10 years involved in the creative industries designing entertaining experiences. I’m an undercover geek with a degree from London School of Economics and am less about ranting about social agendas more about making sustainable living exciting enough for people to want to make it part of their lives.

Touring and performing with the Big Wheel Theatre Company I trained in the use of theatrical tools for engagement, education and behaviour change. I had a fun few years working at ?What If! The Innovation Company, helping executive teams to design processes and cultures that enable innovation; brands and social entrepreneurs to innovate their business models; and coaching young social entrepreneurs towards their goals.

A perfect day for me involves good food, fun company and a little adventure.

Rosa van Wyk

Anthropologist, come film-maker, come techno-geek

My earliest years were spent at the bottom of the garden; digging, planting, tasting. Always organic, and mainly vegetarian - family feasts were a plenty.

Aged 8, I assisted my mum (social artist, Shelley Sacks) on the project 'Exchange Values: Images of Invisible Lives' in St. Lucia. We spent 2 months talking with banana growers which gave me an incredible insight into the human stories behind each product on our supermarket shelves. My interest in the politics of food further developed during my time at UWC of the Atlantic and whilst studying Anthropology at UCL, where I began to question the choices that we make as consumers, and the forces that drive our taste.

Through my involvement with Loco2 - an online low-carbon journey planning tool - I have seen the amazing potential that technology offers us as we strive for a more sustainable, localised existence.

I love the Secret Seed Society because I'm passionate about re-connecting our food with the earth. Kids' happy meals of the 90s were fast, fatty, unsustainable and mainly plastic - I'm here to help create a truly happy meal - slow, natural, nutritious, great for ourselves and for our environment.

Carina Dunkerley & Noah Millstone

Co-Authors of Rudi Radish

Congratulations to Carina & Noah whose entry into the Secret Seed Society writing competition gripped us all and made us laugh. Their literary masterpiece will be released to the public in early 2010 in our next reading, growing and eating pack.

Noah is a historian and teacher from New York, and is at his happiest thinking about the early seventeenth century.

Carina directs a social enterprise in her native London that works to create hundreds of urban orchards.

Noah and Carina live together in London but dream of moving to a smallholding and keeping bees.