Who we are

The Inga Foundation is a registered charity limited by guarantee. Our UK Board is made up of experts in tropical ecology who, between them, have over 150 years of experience.

  • Michael Hands, Senior Research Associate, Univ. of Cambridge (1988-2002),  UK.
  • Dr. Tim Bayliss-Smith, Univ. of Cambridge.  UK
  • Dr. Terence Pennington, Honorary Fellow, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, UK
  • William Vanderbilt, Chair of the Vanderbilt Family Foundation, USA

Mike Hands, Co-Founder & Director

Mike Hands has been working to halt the destruction of the rainforest for over 20 years. An experienced tropical ecologist and scientific researcher, Mike divides his time between his farm in Cornwall, UK, the Inga Foundations chief project, the Land for Life Project in Honduras, and Berlin, Germany.

Mike developed the revolutionary agricultural system of Inga Alley Cropping through years of scientific research into slash and burn farming, after seeing the destruction it wreaks during his time working as a topographical surveyor. Following 16 years’ as Senior Research Associate in the University of Cambridge, he co-founded the UK charity Inga Foundation to implement this new method. A tropical rainforest ecologist, Mike is now working closely with families to implement this sustainable method in place of slash and burn practices.

“Mike Hands – no. 44 in top 100 contributors to saving the planet” – THE GUARDIAN

Terry Pennington 

Terry Pennington has been described as a “botanical legend” by Kew Gardens Science Department. He’s also a world expert on the Inga tree, having published detailed descriptions and illustrations of all circa 300 species and spent many years researching and promoting their use in agroforestry, culminating in his 1998 book on the Inga genus. Terry is currently an Hon research fellow at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He has authored many books on tropical forest trees, including ‘The Trees of Peru’ with Carlos Reynel and Aniceto Daza; also ‘Arboles Tropicales de Mexico’ with Jose Sarukhan – as well as numerous botanical monographs.

Tim Bayliss-Smith 

Tim Bayliss-Smith is Professor Emeritus of Geography in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. John’s College.  He’s a specialist in Agricultural Ecology and the Geography of Melanesia.

With huge thanks to Bill Vanderbilt, Chair of the Vanderbilt Family Foundation, USA


Inga Foundation USA is a 501 (c)(3) public charity.

Glenn Berger is a retired trial attorney, still trying to make the world better one word, one small project and one kindness at a time. 

Heather Garnett has worked in higher education since 1986. She loves knowing the work she does with her college and with Inga makes a difference. 

Lorraine Potter is a tireless Inga advocate who retired from selling flowers and event planning to set up our US branch of Inga Foundation. Plants, grants, and dogs keep her busy.