About Us

The ABC’s Organic Gardener magazine presents practical, clearly written features and excellent photography on all aspects of organic gardening and living. It sticks to the principles of good, chemical-free gardening, which supports and works together with nature.

The magazine explores eco-living issues such as organic food, renewable energy, permaculture, organic farmers markets, environmentally friendly home products, and eco-travel. It provides inspiration, information and practical how-to advice and solutions on all aspects of organic gardening and a holistic lifestyle.

Published 8 times a year, ABC’s Organic Gardener is an essential companion for anyone interested in organics, gardening and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Available from newsagents and My Magazines.

Meet the team

  Steve Payne

Steve Payne - Editor

I’ve been an environmental journalist for 30 years, first with the Permaculture International Journal, and now with Organic Gardener. I’ve always gravitated towards social change, environmental and social justice issues, especially the ideas of permaculture based around building better communities, creating more liveable built environments, and promoting sustainable food production.

I grew up on a broadacre farm in western NSW, moved to Sydney when young and stayed for 20 years before escaping to the bush again. I’ve now found a happy middle ground of a little village in northern New South Wales (Australia), called The Channon. Outside of work and family, I’m kept busy by a vegie patch that spills onto the street so everyone walking past can see our successes and downright failures. Out front is the only sunny spot, so I’ve set up four raised beds, along with some herb beds and fruit trees.

Despite the anxiety that hangs over humanity because of climate change, I am lucky in that my job means I’m also forever reading about positive solutions and actions for a better planet.


Karen Berge - Art Director

Karen has been an integral part of the OG team for 18 years, having previously worked for publishers on a range of magazines. She describes the magazine as her “happy place”, with a knowledge of gardening and all things organic learnt over the years that now means there’s a level of comfort and familiarity that makes her work a joy. Best of all, she gets to choose beautiful pictures that reflect her love of gardening and nature.

Karen shares her home with a loving family of almost-grown children and a menagerie of pets, including the chooks out the backyard who she shares a cup of tea with first thing in the morning before starting her hectic day. A farm out in the country provides a chance to heave bales of hay, as well as settle back with a good book and enjoy the peace and quiet.

 Penny Woodward

Penny Woodward - Horticultural Editor

Penny is a dedicated organic gardener who lives near the coast in Victoria. With a degree in botany and zoology, her passionate commitment to the environment in all its forms has led to a lifetime of writing about and photographing organic gardens.

She is horticultural editor for Organic Gardener Magazine, most of the Essential Guides as well as the Organic Gardener diary and calendar. She also regularly contributes articles and photographs to these publications as well as the Organic Gardener website and has her own websites pennywoodward.com.au and australiangarlic.net.au.

As well, Penny is a panelist on Melbourne’s 3CR community radio gardening program, gives talks to gardeners around Australia and has written eight books (some award winning) on edible and useful plants, including Asian Herbs and Vegetables, Herbs for Australian Gardens, Pest‑Repellent Plants, Garlic: An organic guide to knowing, growing and using garlic (all from Hyland House). Her latest is the award winning self-published book Tomato: know sow grow feast, co-authored with Janice Sutton and Karen Sutherland.

Leanne Croker

Leanne Croker - Deputy Editor

Having worked in publishing for over 20 years, getting a magazine to print is second-nature to Leanne. She's worked on home and women's health magazines in a variety of roles and loves that day when deadline hits and all goes smoothly.

Although, an old-hand when it comes to publishing, Leanne is new to the world of organic gardening. To date her successes have included the odd indoor plant and succulent that loves the heat of her west-facing balcony in the inner-west of Sydney. Recently, though, Leanne has decided to turn the back area of her apartment building (to date ignored and desolate) into a community garden. So she brings to her role at OG a thirst for knowledge and a desire to learn as much as she can so that she can eventually harvest crops of veg and fruit from her own backyard -- in the meantime there's a worm farm and compost and the beginnings of a space for everyone to enjoy.

 Simon Webster 

Simon Webster - Contributing Editor

A freelance journalist, photographer and author, Simon has been a passionate food grower and ABC Organic Gardener contributor for several years.

A refugee from the north of England, Simon lives with his wife and three small children on seven acres in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia. As well as raising humans, chickens, ducks and alpacas, he is attempting to be self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, while acknowledging that the learning curve is so steep he needs ropes and crampons.

As well as writing for the magazine on a wide range of topics, and blogging for the OG website, Simon edits the ABC Organic Gardener Essential Guide series.

Helen McKerral

Helen McKerral - Regular Contributor

Helen lives in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. A passionate gardener and cook, she combines these loves in her writing, as well as in her backyard food patch, which she cultivates using sustainable and Integrated Pest Management techniques.  

Helen holds a Diploma of Applied Science in Natural Resources and a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies.

Jessamy Miller

Jessamy Miller - Regular Contributor

Jessamy Miller is Organic Gardener’s regular poultry writer as well as contributing other articles. She grew up on a hobby farm in Central Victoria and spent most of her childhood with a few lambs and a pet chicken under her special care. “There was really no way of avoiding a lifelong love of chooks,” she says. 

She now lives in inner Melbourne with her husband and two primary-aged children, a menagerie of chooks, quails and cats, and a big organic vegie garden. She enjoys getting together with her neighbours to do extreme group projects like bottling 150kg of tomatoes or bringing up meat chickens. Her goal is practical self-reliance, growing, sewing, baking, brewing rhubarb champagne, and getting the children to help with everything on the way.

Jessamy is one of the editors of Australasian Poultry magazine and also a freelance journalist.

Justin Russell 

Justin Russell - Regular Contributor

Justin is a freelance writer with almost two decades of experience working for magazines, newspapers and radio. His specialty is gardening, but he's also written about the environment, farming, nature and food.

Justin lives with his family at Half Moon Farm, a productive little 3.5 acre smallholding on the Great Dividing Range at Hampton, Queensland. Here he grows good organic food for his household, always aiming to produce just a bit extra to sell locally or swap with neighbours. 


Jerry Coleby-Williams - Regular Contributor

Jerry is a Queensland-based presenter for ABC TV’s Gardening Australia. Inspired by his family of gardeners and farmers, he has been gardening since the age of four.

Jerry studied at England’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and managed the horticultural estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney for 11 years. In 2003 he moved to Brisbane and founded ‘Bellis’, an award-winning sustainable home and garden.

Jerry is horticultural editor of Organic Gardener magazine and has appeared on talkback radio gardening shows for 13 years. See www.bellis.info

 Jennifer Stackhouse 

Jennifer Stackhouse - Blogger

Jennifer Stackhouse is a horticulturist, garden writer and editor, who lives on a small rural property at Kurmond with her family, dogs, chooks and the neighbour’s horses. However, all that’s about to change when, with her husband and their two pugs, she relocates to Tasmania in July 2014.

She is highly respected by gardeners around Australia and a popular speaker and writer. Jennifer edits the influential trade journal Greenworld, writes for several leading garden magazines and websites, and regularly answers garden questions on ABC radio. Her latest book is simply titled Garden. It recently received a prestigious Laurel Award for Best Garden Book for 2014.

Jennifer loves talking about gardens and plants, and regularly answers people’s garden queries on air and at garden shows and seminars. She also performs garden demonstrations with topics including easy ways to grow plants, top herbs, vegetable growing and DIY hanging baskets. She also enjoys talking about living the tree change life, chooks and comments on environmental issues. Jennifer also presents inspirational talks about overseas gardens and the world-famous Chelsea Garden Show.

Reese Halter

 Dr Reese Halter - Contributor

Dr Reese Halter is a conservation biologist and author of eight books. Although based in Los Angeles, he has a strong connection to Australia, having completed a PhD at Melbourne University and being a contributor to ABC Radio National.

Dr Halter has written extensively about climate, forests, trees, beetles, water, oceans and bees. Among his books is The Incomparable Honeybee which sets out the environmental challenges facing bees and what we need to do to save them. His most recent book, Shepherding the Sea was released last year.

Dr Halter contributes articles to Organic Gardener on global environmental issues.