Garden Organic sells Ryton retail arm – the end of an era

According to a recent article in Horticulture Week,  Garden Organic has agreed that Webbs will take over the running of the GO retail arm which includes the, shop, catering and conference facilities at Ryton Gardens. (Please note: the Organic Gardening Catalogue is not included in this deal.)  The article also mentions redundancy negotiations with 90 staff.

As a long time member of HDRA and now Garden organic I am shocked and surprised by this announcement. To sell out the retail arm to a garden centre group is an amazing development. Ryton Gardens have always been the showcase organic gardens and the organic restaurant has won awards for many years. With the new ‘garden centre’ selling organic and non-organic products how can the site retain its organic credentials?

What bothers me most is that GO has been a campaigning organisation and have done extremely valuable work to promote the organic gardening message. Will they still do that? What about member’s services? There are so many questions that need answers as soon as possible.

Update:
Please see the comment from Myles Bremner (Chief Exec) which clarifies the position and offers some reassurance about Ryton’s organic status. What bothers me is that members should hear the news from a commercial press site rather than from GO direct. That only serves to encourage rumours and unease about such major changes.

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