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gardenstead - For Passionate Gardeners

it takes a passionate team to harness the true power of a community

our team’s single focus is to build the biggest, most engaged community of passionate gardeners.
we do this with a relentless focus on the delivering value community.

john barrack; founder of gardenstead

John Barrack

Founder & Head of Business Development

Barrack is the driving force behind gardenstead. He is a serial entrepreneur, management consultant and lawyer. Barrack has held a variety of operational and senior managerial roles including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Legal Officer for the Canadian Media Production Association, Co-Founder and Chief Legal Officer of Don Carmody Television, Co-Founder of Target Park Inc., and Co-Founder and CEO of Off The Wall Posters and Prints. He is an investor and past board chair of Wisley Inc. Barrack is a passionate amateur gardener.

Kim Mayo

Kim Mayo

Managing Director

Kim has worked primarily in the financial services industry in Canada and the United States for the majority of her career having had such roles as Advisor, Business Analyst to Director of Operations. In 2019, Kim decided to pursue a life long dream as a floral designer and graduated from Canadian Institute of Floral Design. The role of Managing Director at Gardenstead is the perfect marriage between creativity and innovation in business. Kim oversees the operations of Gardenstead from human resources, project management, online retail to directing online content. She enjoys the collaboration between her team of content creators and operations personnel as well as engaging with gardenstead’s community.

Ben Kelly

Ben Kelly

Chief Community Officer

Ben oversees acquisition and retention of Gardenstead fans and members. He is a digital executive and strategist. His 360-degree approach to digital and traditional marketing ensures that every project delivers to its audience and isn’t just another cool site or app. Ben created his first company, Pomegranate, which he sold in 2005. He has had senior executive and consulting positions with some of Canada’s leading marketing agencies and brands and developed digital platforms and strategies for companies including Rogers, CBC, Canada Life, TSN, DeGrassi – The Next Generation, Corus Entertainment and many more. He is leading the establishment of our digital communities and maintenance of same.

srin headshot

Srin Sridharan

Strategy and Finance

Srin is the managing partner of Thought – a collective of partners dedicated to solving societal problems through its expertise in strategy, investment management, technology, and social impact. Thought works with impact-focused capital allocators and impact-focused companies to grow and scale their financial returns and their social & environmental impact. He has extensive background in public equity, private equity, and investment management and was formerly a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Lief Ramsaran

Lief Ramsaran

Digital Storyteller / Videographer

Lief Ramsaran is a Toronto-based filmmaker with an affection for small stories and unique start-ups. At Gardenstead Lief writes, shoots and edits documentary-style video content, provides feedback to other content creators, and advises on social media strategy.

Michelle Lawrence

Michelle Lawrence

Social Media and Office Assistant

Michelle’s role at Gardenstead supports operations, project management and delivery of our social media. She is studying Business Management at Ryerson University and is quickly applying what she is learning and gaining valuable experience at Gardenstead. As her work experience grows, so does her passion and appreciation for plants.

Content Creation Team

Kimber in her garden
Kimber Green

Kimber Green is a seasoned writer and avid vegetable gardener. She has a 995 square foot vegetable garden located in rural Virginia, USA. One of her favorite aspects of gardening is seeing her children’s reaction to the ever changing garden. Her gardening journey began when she was nine years old, gardening with her father in Alabama. Kimber has a BS in Marketing and English and a Masters in International Business. In her spare time she enjoys running, crafting and making memories with her family

Veronica Badali

Veronica Badali has a contagious passion for nature that saturates everything she does – from her creative pursuits like cooking and photography, to her career dedicated to sustainable living and wellness. It’s no wonder that when you visit her small city apartment you’re transported into a verdant oasis of flowers, houseplants and vegetables! When she’s not gushing about plants at Gardenstead, she switches gears into an enterprising yoga and wellness coach (@ourlittleyogashala), formidable home cook and perpetual student of environmental studies, psychology and physical health. One day she hopes to experience and photograph all the ecosystems of the world!

Rebecca Hesse​
Rebecca Hesse

Rebecca is a Toronto-based creative writer, wanderlust, and mother, with a background in marketing and the travel industry. When she’s not exploring the great outdoors with her family or daydreaming about her next big idea, she can be found digging up unusual gardening topics or experimenting with her greenspace at every turn. In her balcony garden, she attempts to grow a hodgepodge of different flowers, veggies, and other plants, while inside her apartment, she’s running out of space due to her love of greenery.


Emily Grenat
Emily Grenat

Emily is a city-girl-turned-mountain-woman who discovered a deep passion for all forms of self sufficiency, gardening, and plant care when she moved into the Appalachians of SW Pennsylvania. Emily believes all things plant related can be done with a DIY/Upcycling approach, and that “just give it a shot” is one of the best ways to learn new techniques on both helping your plants thrive, and saving money in the process! When not out in the garden or elbow deep in potting mix, Emily spends the rest of her time divided between hiking/foraging, and deep-diving into university coursework to expand her knowledge on how things grow!

Pilar Cutler
Pilar Cutler

Luisa is a Virginia based gardener and mother. She inherited her green thumb from her father who is a horticulturist from Bogota, Colombia. From a young age she was found outside in the family garden growing vegetables and flowers. When she’s not in her garden she loves to hike and bird watch at her local state parks. She has a BS in Child Development from the University of Mary Washington. She is currently teaching her children how to garden and the importance of where their food comes from. She hopes to add bees and chickens to her garden in the future.