About & Contact

Contact me: messageallan@outlook.com


I am an author, research interviewer and oral historian. I was previously the publisher at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

After 20 years working in the Publishing department at the Centre for Alternative Technology I took voluntary redundancy at the end of May, 2017. I am currently working on various writing projects, cycling through Europe as part of my Grand Depart odyssey, and co-ordinating Cambridge Open Eco Homes.

Previous work

I created the three year oral history project Voices from a disused quarry, co-ordinating the recording and archiving of over 80 interviews, an artist residency programme and a series of outreach events, performances, talks and workshops around the 40th anniversary of the Centre for Alternative Technology. I wrote the book Voices from a disused quarry: an oral history of the Centre for Alternative Technology and a peer-reviewed academic paper for the Oral History Journal (Autumn 2015, Vol. 43, No. 2) entitled Change Making, Class Dynamics and technological experimentation at the Centre for Alternative Technology.  For more information visit archive.cat.org.uk

I have many years experience as an organic garden writer, writing columns for Garden News and The Guardian, and several books for CAT and Harper Collins, including The Little Book of Compost, which was translated into three languages. I was shortlisted for two awards by the Garden Media Guild for best columnist for my Garden News columns and inspirational book of the year for my Harper Collins title The Organic Garden. You can find much of my work here in this blog but you can also watch my take on organic gardening in these two organic gardening technique videos I made with now Guardian Environment Editor Adam Vaughan at Ryton Organic Gardens.