Joanna Ayre

Joanna Ayre is a freelance marketing consultant and owner of an allotment plot in a local community garden where she enjoys growing her own food. She is the social media editor for Where the Leaves Fall and OmVed Gardens. Before joining the team, she most recently worked at Global Citizen as International Marketing Director, working on some of their biggest campaigns to end extreme poverty, including music festivals in London, New York, Paris and Johannesburg. She lives in north London with her partner and two cats. Images by @ruined_maps

Describe the nature around you at the moment.

It’s a gloomy January day in north London - it feels like it hasn’t stopped raining for weeks. But I have just planted some sweet pea and geranium seeds. They are sitting by a window in my flat and when they are big enough, they will eventually go into my allotment patch, it’s giving me hope for sunnier times.

Where do you feel most at ease?

Exploring a botanical garden or a cemetery on holiday. It sounds a bit morbid but I often find cemeteries are tranquil spaces, especially when left to go a bit wild, they are like little nature reserves. Each cemetery has its own unique architecture, iconography and biodiversity. So a cemetery is always on the top of my list when visiting a new country.

How can we use social media as a tool to bring us closer to nature?

As humans, we seek connection and are always finding new ways to share knowledge. I see social media as just another way for us to discover new ways of thinking and sharing ideas. We have become so disconnected from nature, and as digital becomes more prevalent in our lives, I think there’s a growing trend for deepening our connection with nature through online content. I spend a lot of time behind a screen as part of my job, so it’s also really important for me to find time in nature to switch off from the digital world.

What inspires you every day?

Learning. The world is so complex and fascinating, there’s so much to discover.

Which rituals do you practice to keep you grounded?

Spending time tending to my allotment plot or going for a walk through nature or woodlands is an essential daily ritual for me. I feel incredibly lucky to have a small plot in a local community garden and to live near so many green spaces in London like Alexandra Park, Highgate Woods and Hampstead Heath. I feel completely off balance if I don’t get my daily dose of nature.

Name a film, podcast or documentary that blew your mind?

I recently watched Aftersun. It really resonated with me, having grown up in the 90s, the nostalgia of the all-inclusive sunny holiday resort, took me back. As well as the complicated struggle of the dad reminded me of my relationship with my wonderful mum who struggled with depression throughout her life. She sadly took her own life when I was a teenager and my world fell apart. The film was an emotional rollercoaster, but incredibly powerful, and beautifully gentle at the same time. The more people have conversations about mental health - the easier it becomes for people to connect and remove the stigma.

What kind of ancestor would you like to be?

I hope to be one that leaves a positive impact on the world. When I’m gone, I’ll hopefully become part of a mycelium network, transferring minerals and connecting to plants and fungi, that would be interesting!

What question would you like to ask to the next person on TNK?

Have you always felt a deep connection to nature, or was there a moment or event in your life that sparked it?

And could you suggest someone else or other organisations you admire that we could approach for #TheNatureKind?

Sol, Tej, Kiran and Randa from OmVed Gardens - they are all brilliant human beans and I don’t think they’ve been TNK’ed yet!

You can find out more about Where the Leaves Fall and OmVed Gardens on Instagram.

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