Tammi Jonas is an agroecologist in practice, principle, and philosophy. Along with her hypercompetent husband Stuart, Tammi farms heritage-breed Large Black pastured pigs, cattle, and garlic on the unceded lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people in the central highlands of Victoria. She is also resident meatsmith at Jonai Farms, a thriving community-supported agriculture (CSA) with 80 wonderful household members. Tammi has been president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) since 2014.
She is undertaking a PhD at the University of Western Australia on the biodiverse and decolonising practices of agroecological farmers, and investigating the logistical, financial, social, and legislative barriers to their efforts.
In her years serving AFSA, Tammi has been very active in the global fight for food sovereignty with comrades in the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), advocating in numerous UN governing bodies for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and peasants and their communities. She is an editor and co-author of Farming Democracy: Radically transforming the food system from the ground up (2019).
Former Small Scale Organic and Permaculture Farmer in the NSW Southern Tablelands, now a ‘travelling farmer’.
Penny and her husband Paul are currently travelling Australia helping out on sustainable and regenerative farms and within outback communities. Penny’s passion is the growth of local food systems, and she wants to see small farms flourish, not only ecologically, but also in a sustainable way for those running them – meaning from a resource base as well as financial sustainability. Penny has a huge passion for well grown and local food and seeks to connect with these farmers wherever she lands. However, she’s also learning a lot about ‘food deserts’ in her travels.
Currently based in South Australia on Nukunu Lands in the Southern Flinders, Penny was raised in Tumbarumba in the NSW Snowies, then Sydney, later Mudgee and the north coast of NSW before owning and managing Caroola Farm until 2018. She has worked and lived on farms from 10,000 acres down to 10 acres, from conventional to organic.
Her education crosses many fields including Marketing, Permaculture, Holistic Management and Organic Farming and well as being an educator in the fields of marketing, permaculture and growing small farm businesses.
Penny previously served on the AFSA committee as Secretary in 2016/2017.
Sári Szász Komlós is a small-scale farmer and community herbalist living on unceded Gumbaynggirr Country, she runs The Medicine Grove Forerst Farm with her partner Kem. Growing up in a migrant family from Hungary, food always played a crucial role in how her family maintained culture as well as how they built connection and community in a new country.
Farming emerged as a way to practice embodied environmentalism during her early 20’s and since then she’s been fervently learning and attempting to practice ecological production. Sári’s focus is on growing agroecological food and herbal systems which contribute towards health, food and climate justice. She also works within the CSIPM and is passionate about the Right to Food and global organising around Food Sovereignty. Sári has formally studied agroecology, media + communications and health science, alongside textile weaving.
Ruth is based in Bungendore NSW, Australia, where she works, for Southern Harvest Association (SHA), a not-for-profit organisation at the forefront of increasing the profile and availability of local food and fibre products, through farmer-consumer networking activities such as markets, aggregated produce boxes, tours, workshops, festivals and community long lunches. Ruth also has her own business focused on catering and value adding locally grown, found and foraged foods.
Ruth has been a farmer and a Registered Nurse, and seen first-hand the results of poor nutrition on health and welfare outcomes, across many social contexts. Farming her own land she experienced the ups and downs of producing food and fibre for local community, and has had a wide variety of experience working on many farms and food/farming enterprises around the country, providing diverse enterprises.
Ruth has been involved with AFSA activities since about 2017, and this has exposed her to many of the processes and mechanisms by which food sovereignty actions occur, including as the Australiasian member of the Coordination Committee of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM) for relations with the Committee on World Food Security. In 2022-23, Ruth rejoins AFSA’s National Committee as Memberships Officer, to help galvanise the food sovereignty movement even further.
Adele lives on Widjabul Wia-bal Country in Dundarimba/Lismore, in the Northern Rivers of NSW. Adele is a food historian, particularly interested in the relationship between food production and culture and teaches history at Southern Cross University. She is a founding member of the Australian Food Research Network and editor of Locale: Pacific Journal of Regional Food Studies.
Adele is the consumer representative on the Lismore Produce Market committee and is a member of Wilson River Landcare. She is active with Richmond RiverKeeper, providing a voice for the river and partnerships with landowners and community groups to restore habitat, improve riverbank stability, reduce pollution and the loss of our precious soils.
Mirella is a mother, food grower, and academic with a background in Law and Anthropology. She has 15 years experience working with communities in the Brazilian Amazon, as an academic, consultant, volunteer, friend, and ally. Mirella is an educator, or a learning facilitator as she prefers to call herself, committed to creating positive change in the way her students understand and live in the world. She mostly teaches First Nations, environmental, and global affairs, and has been casually designing and delivering courses at RMIT University (Wurundjeri Country) for 7 years.
Mirella lives on Djaara Country with her partner and son on a beautiful native bird heaven, where they currently work on the regeneration of an old orchard, and grow seasonal crops for themselves and their community. There are many plans in the pipeline to increase the use of the land using agroecology and regenerative principles.
Her main interest in becoming part of AFSA is to be further engaged in practical, on-ground, action when it comes to food sovereignty. Mirella is keen to share her skills to support the organisation’s work, especially on the First Nations and International fronts. She also aims at gathering more critical knowledge and sharing with her Brazilian comrades in the jungle, as a way of fostering their food sovereignty too.
Ben was born and lives on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people, studying at Monash University in the Bachelor of Science Advanced – Global Challenges program. He lived, worked, and studied in Samoa for seven months, much of which was spent at the Samoan Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries and Alafua Campus of the University of the South Pacific. Seeing the systems of power that impede communities around the world from living in collective sovereignty, Ben is committed to counterhegemony and resisting problematic structures of neoliberal capitalism. He is about to undertake an Honours research thesis on shifting settler colonial structures and visions of land for food sovereignty in what is now called Australia.
Lucy Ridge (she/her) is an eater and ally living and working on Ngunnawal Ngambri land. Lucy is an AFSA member, a staff member of Southern Harvest Association, and an advocate for food sovereignty and local food in her area. Lucy also works part time as a food writer and draws from her many years experience in the hospitality industry as a chef to bridge the gap between chefs and producers.
Lucy has also undertaken several internships working with women across the food system all over Australia in an effort to further her own education and understand what it takes to be a farmer, butcher, cheesemaker, wild harvester, distiller and market gardener from the ground up. Lucy recently contributed a chapter to Eating Democracy and is also working on a book about her own journey through the food system.
Antoine lives in Meanjin and has a background in international trade and foreign languages, development economics, sustainable tourism and logistics. He grew up in Spain and France where food is not only a tourist magnet but most importantly an integral part of every citizen’s cultural identity. This particular experience made him realise how political and how culturally relevant it is to understand where, how, by whom and why the food we eat is grown.
Through his travels around New Zealand and Australia, Antoine developed a keen interest in agroecology and its potential to not only regenerate land and biodiversity where it is applied, but also to tackle social and economic inequalities, climate change and current power dynamics in the food system. He’s been involved in hands-on food systems transformation for the last 6 years and tries to keep up with food systems academic literature, with a focus on agroecology and alternative food distribution networks.
After navigating through Food Connect’s alternative food network as warehouse manager and farmer liaison, Antoine has recently joined Sovereign Foods, a not-for-profit food enterprise based in Moorooka, while also helping coordinate a farmer-led vegetable box scheme.
Ivan Blacket is a farmer, educator and consultant with a focus on integrated regenerative food production systems. He grew up on a small goat dairy on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula and, since studying agricultural sciences at Melbourne University, has managed many different production systems around Australia from agroforestry market gardens to timber plantations and large fruit orchards.
He has developed food systems at The Farm at Byron Bay, Conscious Ground and Common Ground Project, and educated hundreds of aspiring farmers and homesteaders in the process. He is also currently a facilitator with Permaculture for Refugees.
Jess has a professional background in journalism, communications and policy, living and working in Sydney for a number of industry associations with a focus on sustainable urbanism. She currently resides on beautiful Quandamooka Country in Queensland, completing a Master of Environment at Griffith University. Jess became interested food security as a broad topic as her studies kicked off during the pandemic, prompting further investigation into policies responsible for the wide range of environmental issues associated with industrial agriculture in Australia. In her final dissertation, she explored how policy can support an agroecological approach to climate change adaptation in agriculture. Outside of her work with AFSA, catch Jess at her local farmers’ markets, reading, or eating good food!
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is a farmer-led civil society organisation of people working together towards socially-just and ecologically-sound food and agriculture systems that foster the democratic participation of Indigenous Peoples, smallholders, and local communities in decision making processes.