These days we’re incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful organic British made beauty brands, but back in the 1970’s it was a very different picture. Last night, in the beautiful setting of the Chelsea Physic Garden, London, Romy Fraser gave us a guided tour through her life with plants.

Growing up in the countryside she had a natural affinity with nature and from an early age enjoyed making a connection with the plants around her. Following an initial career in teaching she took a slight change in direction, when she brought her love of plants together with her love of sharing her knowledge and passion, to create a shop in Covent Garden. This was perfect for those urbanites who didn’t have access to plants or the confidence to know how to use them.

Romy Fraser with her first Neals Yard shop

From humble beginnings, over the next 20 years or so Neals Yard Remedies (originally Neals Yard Apothecary) blossomed and expanded to over 24 shops across the UK with 300 employees. In 2003 Romy moved production down to North Dorset where she designed her own production facility with a sustainable and social approach in mind.

Despite having set up numerous short courses during Neals Yard’s history, it was in 2005 that Romy decided the business wasn’t quite the right vehicle through which she could develop her teaching roots. As such she sold Neals Yard Remedies and in 2007 founded Trill Farm, a 300 acre farm which has since developed a range of small businesses and hosts a variety of learning experiences for children and adults.

The audience raised a number of interesting questions. One particularly stood out to us at Urbanfarmacy, which touched on the need to have access to herbs and learning in an urban environment – and we couldn’t agree more! We’re excited to hear there’s so much demand for knowledge on herbs and hope to bring a range of medicinal herbs and course on how to use them to a street near you soon.

Here are a couple more pictures from the evening…

The first bottle design for Neals Yard Remedies

Herb bed at the Chelsea Physic Garden

TTK Editor