The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is lucky to have a team of dedicated and passionate people working to create equitable, sustainable and resilient food systems for all Australians.
- President – Tammi Jonas
- Treasurer – Penny Kothe
- Secretary – Madeleine Toohey
- Amy Pagett
- Randal Breen
- Dan Cordner
- La Vergne Lehmann
- Eliza Cannon
- Mirella Gavidia
- Jess Power – Administrative Officer
Committee Member Profiles
Tammi Jonas, President
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).
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.
Madeleine Toohey, National Secretary
Mads is pursuing her passion and interest in agroecology at Jonai Farms on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, and farming a mob of 16 large black pigs with friends Adam and Cait (‘the young agrarians’) on their neighbour’s land to help raise funds for a community, micro-abattoir to be built at Jonai. Mads is using her undergrad studies in Indigenous Cultures and Histories and Politics to invigorate decolonising practices in farming and activism, and found a harmony of all these interests, passions, values and experience in the food sovereignty movement and particularly at AFSA.
General Members Profiles
Amy grew up on her family’s fourth generation sheep property in Central West NSW. As one of four girls, she took the early cues to look further afield for a life in the city. After attending boarding school in Sydney, she studied Media & Communication Studies in Wollongong then years later completed a Master of Sustainability at Sydney Uni. Professionally, work always seemed to involve food – from the glossy pages of one of Australia’s top food magazine, to the e-commerce world of a recipe box delivery service and then working in Melbourne at Yume Food – Australia’s first and only online marketplace for surplus commercial-scale food waste.
Amy is interested in learning about regenerative agriculture in the hopes to one day go full circle, roll up her sleeves and produce nutrient-dense food with a focus on regenerating ecosystems and sharing knowledge. She understands that food is the source of our health and happiness and believes that it is the most powerful medium through which we can demonstrate the kind of environment and society we wish to live and take part in.
Randal Breen is a co-farmer of Echo Valley Farm, which has been operating for the past 6 years producing pastured eggs, pastured pork and grass fed beef. They run a stacked, integrated, multispecies, holistic operation which bases operations on the values of our 4 Goods – Good For the Animal, Good For the Land, Good for the Farmer & Good for the You (Consumer).
All of their produce is direct marketed through our 3 distribution channels; our CSA membership, direct online retail (website), and wholesale to cafes, restaurants, and ethical food distributors.
Prior to farming Randal worked in the field of Community Arts, Social Science and Community Development, and holds a Bachelor of Social Science. He spent 8 years as a director of a Community Arts Space in Brisbane with a focus on at-risk youth, emerging artists, and graffiti and public art.
Dan, along with his wife Leanne their 2 daughters Adele and Hayley run Bellasato Farm. He and his family farm premium Sommerlad meat chickens along with a small amount of sugar cane. They also grow a few veggies and an ever-increasing bounty of tropical fruits.
Having spent most of his life living in the city, Dan didn’t think often about where his food was coming from, that is, until the birth of his daughter. Being responsible for her life made him and his wife consider what type of lifestyle they wanted to raise their children in, one disconnected from nature, food, and farming, or one that enveloped them within these beautiful aspects of life.
Having never farmed before Dan and his wife took the leap and moved onto a farm, literally jumping in the deep end – both without any off-farm income, and completely reliant on the land to provide food and enough money to get by on. But with the goal of providing great quality food for their family and their surrounding community fueling their flame, they soldier on, learning and growing as they go.
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. She hopes to complete her dissertation in 2022 with a focus on how policy can support positive transformations of Australia’s food systems using agroecological principles and indigneous knowledge systems. Outside of her work with AFSA, Jess assists with bushcare in her local area which is home to many koalas and native birds, as well as spending a lot of time reading (both for study and leisure!). If you need to contact Jess about anything AFSA related, send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.