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
- Vice President- Katie Johnston
- Treasurer – Dan Cordner
- Secretary – Ruth Gaha-Morris
- International Liaison – Anisah Madden
- Ray Palmer
- Ant Wilson
- Nick Holliday
- Amy Pagett
- Melissa Charlick
- Airlie Morris – Lawyer
- Amida Cumming – Administrative Officer
Committee Member Profiles
Tammi Jonas, President
Tammi considers herself an ethicurean farmer, mindful meatsmith, and agrarian intellectual. She has been the AFSA President since 2014, and will continue to fulfill this role for the 2018 – 2019 committee year. Tammi is a known leader, lending her strong female farmer’s voice to the fight for food sovereignty in Australia.
Tammi is the Chief Butcher at Jonai Farms located in Central Highlands Victoria. She and her husband Stuart, Chief Farmer of Jonai, raise heritage breed Large Black pigs and a small herd of mixed cattle, as well as a small annual crop of garlic. Tammi, a former vegetarian academic turned pig-farming butcher, transforms whole carcasses into a range of fresh cuts, smallgoods, salumi, & charcuterie, while selling Jonai’s produce predominantly through a thriving CSA (community-supported agriculture) to 85 wonderful households of ethical omnivores.
As President over the past three years, Tammi has worked solidly for fair and consistent regulation of farming and food production and distribution, helping to establish AFSA’s Legal Defence Fund to protect and promote the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture systems. The Fund has supported many farmers encountering legal obstacles in their work to grow a better food system.
Tammi has helped AFSA establish its voice and authority on a range of issues and secured AFSA’s position as a key stakeholder in food systems in Australia. Her work has included strong representation for Australia in the global food sovereignty movement, including active participation in the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), the Asia Pacific Regional Meetings of the FAO, Urgenci: the International Network for Community-Supported Agriculture, and lending her voice to the global food sovereignty movement La Via Campesina (LVC).
The extent of Tammi’s work in Australia and internationally has deepened and broadened her understanding of the issues in the food system locally and globally, and she is committed to continuing to apply that knowledge and experience to assist farmers and eaters, AFSA, and the global food sovereignty movement in the role of President.
Katie Johnston, Vice President
Katie graduated from a double Bachelor’s Degree in Social and Environmental Science in 2016 and will bring to the Vice President role her excellent communication skills, a love of working with people and a desire to increase the support for small-scale and regenerative farmers in Australia. She has a passion for holistic land management practices and although not a farmer, loves working with and for people who are making these choices to support landscape function and create better food systems.
Katie has worked in coffee roasting and administration for the past year and a half, and as the Northern Coordinator for the Welcome Dinner Project in Melbourne – an NFP organization that holds dinners between newly arrived and established Australians. Prior to this, she managed a hospitality business in Brunswick East with her partner and spent an extended time WWOOFing in North America before university, where she fell in love with rural life. She obtained a Permaculture Certificate at Milkwood in 2011.
While serving as the AFSA Communications Officer, Katie J assisted with multiple AFSA campaigns, inspiring her to renominate for the AFSA Committee and continue what she considers incredibly valuable work.
Katie explains, “I understand from my studies and my work with AFSA that we have little chance of addressing food system issues via consumption practices alone, and that more importantly, we need to address issues of production, and in doing so, support the people producing food that is ecologically and ethically sound.”
Katie is excited about the expansion of the VP role to include care for volunteers and a broader focus on membership and looks forward to taking on these responsibilities. Katie is keen to help strengthen the food sovereignty movement within Australia and to be further exposed to the movement globally, via the role of AFSA Vice President.
Dan Cordner, Treasurer
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.
Ruth Gaha-Morris, Secretary
Ex-farmer come foodie advocate, Ruth works across multiple platforms to bring producers and consumers closer together within local sustainable food systems. At present this includes running small scale farmers markets and a multi-farm box scheme, aggregating small amounts of produce from multiple farmers in the Southern Tablelands of NSW.
In addition to this her business, The Scrumpers Garden, specialises in catering local events, sourcing exclusively from local producers, and utilising excess and otherwise “unloved” food, while educating consumers on seasonality and new ingredients.
Ruth joined AFSA in 2017 when looking for a way to contributing to bigger system changes in national and international food regulation. She is a passionate advocate for the right of people to have greater control over and freeer access to their food farming, food making, food consuming and the decision making processes surrounding all of these.
Anisah Madden, International Liaison
Anisah’s background as a herbalist, organic market gardener, and agri-food co-operative worker/owner and member in Canada drew her into food sovereignty advocacy work in her early twenties. Apprenticing with herbalists and farmers in the woods and field, and working in an organic food home delivery service as a grocery purchaser taught her about the possibilities and challenges faced by those seeking agency over their food systems.
She became involved in community agricultural development in a small rural town in British Columbia, Canada. There, she was a founding member of the Kettle Valley Food Co-op, a multi-stakeholder food cooperative with an online ordering system. With three friends, she helped to form a workers co-op permaculture food forest market garden (Filbelly Forest), and also initiated a community seed-saving project (The Boundary Seed Bank) which is now housed in the Grand Forks Public Library.
Anisah’s interest in food and seed sovereignty and environmental justice grew during these involvements, as did her frustration with the political and economic policy that placed corporate interests above people’s right to food. She completed a B.A.H. in International Development Studies in 2013, which allowed her to develop analytical and discursive tools to understand, think, and articulate more effectively for advocacy and action. Building her intellectual, organisational, and ethical leadership capacity.
Currently, Anisah is a PhD Candidate at Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society. Her PhD research explores the ways ethical commitments to self, others, and ecological integrity affect solidarity-building and mobilisation efforts of food sovereignty movements across the world to shape policy conversations at local, national, and global scales.
General Members Profiles
Ant first became involved with AFSA during the 2017 Convergence as a general member then filled the position of Secretary from Aug-Oct 2018. Ant returns to AFSA for the 2018 – 2019 year as a General Member. A busy farmer of 4Ha of fruit trees, Ant brings to AFSA his passion for farming and food sovereignty, a commitment to collectivism, and his unwavering optimism. Ant firmly believes in the importance of achieving food sovereignty as a means to restructure food and agriculture systems for the good of the earth and its diverse communities, and through his efforts with AFSA works to achieve these goals.
Along with his family, Ray is a full time farmer growing vegetables and cattle near Stanthorpe in southern Queensland. His farm direct markets to people in his local community and in Brisbane collaboratively with other small farmers in our area.
Ray’s background includes a degree in horticultural technology, and employment in: large and small farms; department of agriculture research; orchard agronomy; contract research and development; and industry development for a mainstream farmers organization. Ray believes the future of farming must include small scale family farmers and wants to support the work of AFSA in the food sovereignty movement.
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 now 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.
After spending four years working on and learning from farms across the globe, Melissa returned to Western Australia with her partner, Declan, where she now co-runs and operates Roly Poly Farm, a regenerative vegetable farm down in Harvey, WA. Her experience in small-scale farming, rotational livestock management, soil health, fruit tree grafting, and vegetable farming has left her with an insatiable passion and interest in agriculture, and a commitment to feeding both her local soil and local community. She is driven by an open-source style of farming, where the sharing of knowledge and practices is unfiltered and encouraged. She also advocates for young farmers’ access to both land and water as part of our national and global future food security, and is excited to work with AFSA to achieve this.
Melissa originally graduated as an English high school teacher in 2015, and education and the inclusion of youth in farming is still extremely important to her. She believes that promoting farming as an attractive and viable career path is of upmost importance if we are to maintain a local food movement and our rural communities.
Staff Members Profiles
Airlie Morris, AFSA Legal Defence Fund Lawyer
Airlie is a corporate lawyer and contract specialist of too-many-years-to-count but more recently took stewardship of 200 acres of denuded farmland in central Victoria. Her aim was regenerating the landscape, her partners’ aim was farming. After many discussions they have combined interests and are practising regenerative agriculture with a range of farm animals, costly fencing, over 11,000 planted trees, and three children. This journey led to Airlie’s discovery of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, via membership of CSA’s in her new local area. Working with AFSA provides Airlie with the perfect balance of contributing her legal and drafting skills while continuing to learn and be inspired by the principles of food sovereignty.