National Committee 2017-18
Tammi considers herself an ethicurean farmer, mindful meatsmith, and agrarian intellectual.
Along with her hypercompetent husband and three #orsmkids, she raises rare breed Large Black pigs, a motley crew of cattle, and Australorp chickens on the volcanic soils of central Victoria at Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths. Former vegetarian academic Tammi does whole-carcass butchering on the farm (thanks to two successful crowdfunding campaigns to build a boning room, commercial kitchen, & curing room), and sells their ethical pork and beef predominantly through a thriving CSA (community-supported agriculture).
Jonai Farms is an ethically viable no-growth model – Tammi often says we need to multiply our farms, not scale them, to support more people working the land fairly and to revive rural communities and local food economies.
Tammi has been writing about food culture, ethics and politics since 2006 at her blog TammiJonas: Food Ethics, and speaks regularly on food sovereignty at public events, on radio, and in print media. She is also a founding member and former chair of Fair Food Farmers United (FFFU), the producers' branch of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA).
Jonai Farms features in Australia’s first food politics documentary Fair Food, and Tammi also has a chapter in the anthology Fair Food, published by UQ Press.
Tammi has worked solidly over many years for fair and consistent regulation of farming and food production and distribution, and led the process to establish a Legal Defence Fund to protect and promote the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture systems.
She has helped AFSA establish its voice and authority on a range of issues and secured frequent meetings with a number of politicians to lobby for significant reform, as well as leading the process for submissions to government inquiries, including the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the impact of regulation on agriculture, and the Victorian Government’s Animal Industries Advisory Committee, which released its report in 2016 that includes recommendations for more scale-appropriate application of the planning scheme around extensive and intensive animal husbandry.
Tammi has also had the privilege to attend a variety of meetings of the global food sovereignty movement, including the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, Urgenci: the International Network for Community-Supported Agriculture, Slow Meat, the Asia Pacific Regional Meeting of the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), Slow Food’s Terra Madre, and the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) that relates to the UN Committee for World Food Security (CFS). She led the process to gain membership of the leading voice of the global food sovereignty movement La Via Campesina (LVC) in August 2016.
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 keen to continue applying that knowledge and experience to assist farmers and eaters, AFSA, the FFFU and the global food sovereignty movement.
Ben McMenamin is a chef, social entrepreneur and founder of the Social Food Project. Having worked as a chef for over 10 years and gained a degree from RMIT, Ben has come to realise the power that food has to bring people together and catalyse social change.
Ben has cooked with a number of great social initiatives including the Food Know How project, Scarf Community Dinners, Give a Fork Sustainable Seafood lunch, OzHarvest and more! His work as a food educator has taken him all over Australia presenting at sustainability conferences and community festivals.
Ben's passion for food and education is matched only by his love of gardening! While at RMIT, Ben started a student project called Greening RMIT dedicated to creating more urban gardens and increasing food literacy on campus. He has hosted numerous gardening workshops and cooking demonstrations for students and staff alike.
Katarina Munksgaard, International Liaison
Kat is an anthropologist specialising in farming and interspecies relationships. She recently finished her master’s thesis on the food sovereignty movement in Australia. Kat got involved with AFSA to support her thesis work in 2015-16. She has interviewed and interacted with a large number of small-scale regenerative farmers all over Australia providing her with an in-depth understanding of both the motivations behind choosing these farming methods and the current issues that farmers face. She has worked as a research assistant at Deakin University on the project Sustainable Fishing Families and can now also report on food sovereignty issues in the Australian fishing industry.
Kat has also worked specifically on the topic of genetically modified crops in India and the farmers who farm these crops. She has written extensively on the globalized and commodified food system and analysed the detrimental social and environmental effects these systems have on especially people in the Global South.
Phil Stringer is currently managing a small mixed farm in SE Qld, running free range purebred Tamworth pigs, a small herd of cattle and growing subtropical perennial tubers along with various cut flowers and vegetables.
He's also a director of the Mary Valley Country Harvest Coop which provides weekly deliveries to the Sunshine Coast and valuable training, workshops and farm tours to local growers, as well as being actively involved in a project to get a local mixed species abattoir in the region again.
His background is in land management, and he continues to work off farm on revegetation projects.
He joined the AFSA national committee in August 2016.
Penny Kothe, Secretary
Raised in Tumbarumba in the NSW Snowies, then Sydney and later Mudgee and the north coast of NSW. Coming from a farming family with a great interest in gardening, Penny feels right at home on the open spaces of the farm. Penny became interested in studying horticulture, then permaculture and holistic management and is continuing to learn and apply these principles each and every day. She completed her PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in 2012 as well as various courses including Forest Gardens, Natural Bee Keeping, Urban Permaculture and Holistic Management. She has recently completed a Diploma in Organic Farming.
Katie Johnston, Communications Officer
Katie grew up a Navy brat, living mainly in big cities in Australia and overseas. Formerly a photographer, she undertook a years worth of volunteer farming (WWOOFing) in North America in 2010, where she had multiple epiphanies about the importance of soil, the power of food to create community and the purpose of life - made seemingly more enjoyable when working the land.
Upon her return in 2011, she completed her Permaculture Design Certificate at Milkwood Permaculture, after which she enrolled in and has now completed a Double Degree in Social and Environmental Science at RMIT University in Melbourne. During her time at university, focusing on natural resource management and food systems, she transitioned from being a Vegan, to believing there is a role for animals in agriculture, and as such, now chooses to support small-scale local producers who choose to do the right thing by people, the land and the creatures we share it with.
Katie is now looking for work in the regenerative agriculture/local food/land management space - if anyone wants to pay to see her smiley face all day and utilise her wide array of skills, hit her up.
General Committee Members
Fran Murrell is a co-founder of MADGE – Mothers Are Demystifying Genetic Engineering, also Mothers Advocating Deliciously Good Eating. This volunteer group of mothers and others formed in 2007. They are concerned about the increasing changes happening to our food in industrial agriculture, including Genetic Engineering and the use of pesticides and nanomaterials.
Fran became interested in GE (or GM as it is also known) in 1994 after her first daughter was born, when she was studying at Melbourne University. While researching an essay on pesticides realised her baby daughter would be receiving the highest dose of chemical exposure and that much of that would come from food. Initially reassured that GM crops would reduce pesticide use, further exploration showed they increase it. This led to years of research on the GM industry resulting in creating a website, writing, giving talks and commenting in the media. There is a strong global movement resisting GM and Fran has helped organise overseas speakers in Australia as well as participating in events in the US, Canada and Europe.
Fran is passionate about helping to create a food system that nourishes all children, restores health to the planet, is delicious and fair to everyone, and everything, involved.
Pi Wei Lim
Courtney Young, Policy, Research and Administrative Officer
Passionate about agroecology, regenerative farming and supporting local food economies, Courtney has been interning with AFSA since the beginning of 2016. She runs Woodstock Flour with her partner Ian Congdon in Berrigan, NSW. They mill organic grain grown on Ian's family's farm and sell direct to their community.
Courtney studied Environments and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne, majoring in 'Environmental Geographies, Politics and Culture' and 'Food Security'.
Sarah is an enthusiastic law graduate who loves learning for the sake of learning and is passionate about law reform, food sovereignty and saving endangered food varieties.
Sarah graduated from Griffith University with a background in human rights advocacy and youth leadership. Her aspiration to investigate the sources of good food led her to join the Griffith University Food Co-operative, which later gained her nomination as their sponsored representative at the Students of Sustainability Conference 2014. This was a life-altering event for Sarah, for it was the beginning of her dedication to food sovereignty and seed biodiversity. Sarah later completed a graduate research paper on Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights to Australian Food Seeds. Sarah has been involved in fundraising campaigns linked to anti extraction industry initiatives, as well as assisted a small-scale, sustainable farm in Devon (UK), where she developed a strong value of supporting antibiotics free, hormone free and preservative free diets of animals produced for meat. Sarah believes that the welfare of animals is dependent on humans and believes in the importance of facilitating small-scale producers to become the future of a better meat industry.
Sarah is passionate about making concepts of law and food and seed sovereignty come alive by celebrating food traditions and engaging with community members.
National Committee 2015-16
President – Tammi Jonas, VIC
Tammi Jonas, along with her husband and three #orsmkids, raises pastured, rare breed Large Black pigs and a motley crew of cattle at Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths in Eganstown in central Victoria. A former vegetarian academic, Tammi now does whole-carcass butchering on the farm, sells pork and beef at the farm gate and online through a CSA (C0mmunity Supported Agriculture) model and delivers monthly to hubs in Melbourne and the region. Tammi has been writing about food ethics and politics since 2006 at her blog Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics, and advocates an ethical food system on the twitterz as @tammois, and for the farm as @jonaifarms. She is also a founding member of Fair Food Farmers United (FFFU), a producers’ branch of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance that is creating a strong voice for farmers who are feeding Australia fairly.
Treasurer — Wendy Lehman
Since 2010 Wendy has practiced sustainable agriculture on 61 hectares alongside the Loddon River in Capels Crossing, North Central Victoria. Wyalong Farm (est. 1895) now includes the natural and ethical farming of meat goats and milk/meat small bred cattle along with heritage and natural resources management. Previously Wendy farmed in Victoria’s High Country (1987-1995) but moved on after establishing a successful holiday farm as she was torn between acceptable practices and her beliefs. Thankfully amazing pioneers began changing ‘The System’ and as farming is in her genes, (as a fifth generation Australian farmer descending from all her Great, Great Grandparents’ arrival), it became time to return. In 2008 Wendy retired after 22 years operating a Business Consultancy and established ECOsustain with the aim to develop a best farming practice: effective, efficient and contributing to global well-being. Whilst Treasurer of the Warneet Foreshore CoM, (2008-2010), a Department of Sustainabilty and Environment (DSE) volunteer appointment, she acquired a substantial grant for erosion control and developed a Conceptual Foreshore Management Plan. The past five years Wendy has extensively networked looking for likeminded within her traditional farming locale and is determined not to let naysayers cast their gloom. She’s participated in Farming and Landcare Workshops, joined the Redgum Food Group, Swan Hill Farmers Market CoM and her local Heritage Assn. In 2014 Wendy participated in the National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) ‘Women Toward Sustainability eLeaders Program’ and founded ‘Permaculture North Central Victoria’ (Permaculture NCV), now an affiliated Landcare Group, as part of her chosen project. A 2015 highlight has been Permaculture NCV’s event, ’A Celebration Connecting the Many Facets of a Permanent Culture’, at Ceres on International Permaculture Day with a who’s who of presenters at the forefront and a screening of ‘Fair Food’ - The Documentary. Currently Wendy is enjoying combining her passions for the great outdoors, recycling and heritage including undertaking University of Tasmania Associate Degree units. She is also navigating the maze of Food Regulations for Farmer Sales and looking forward to making a valuable contribution to the Fair Food Movement as an advocate/enabler for the potential of holistic decision making and for the shift in mind-set which is necessary to make the changes humans find difficult.
Secretary — Chris Balazs
Chris is a first generation farmer. Starting with a small herd of Hereford’s, Chris has expanded his paddock to plate business (SageChoice) to run a sustainable business supplying ethically raised grass fed beef and lamb through a network of like-minded farmers to the local community. Passionate about ethical livestock farming and ethical meat consumption - you will find him at VFMA markets talking and advocating the need for people to understand where their food comes from and how consumers have the power to change the food paradigm for the better. Chris comes from a corporate background having worked in a large pharmaceutical company for over 18 years. Now having left the corporate life behind, Chris is primarily focused on the farming and food production. Trained and educated as a scientist, Chris is also passionate about continual education having recently completed a MBA, he brings fresh thinking to traditional farming. Years of business, management and science experience is being used to help improve and create a sustainable farming future.
Communications Officer — Alana Mann, NSW
Alana Mann is a lecturer and scholar in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. She is a member of the Charles Perkins Centre interdisciplinary research group on food security and nutrition and the Sydney Environment Institute’s Food, People and the Planet node. Prior to joining the University she worked at Fairfax Media as a marketing communications manager for seven years, and then briefly as national communications manager for The Smith Family before joining the University in 2006. She earned her PhD, entitled ‘Framing Food Sovereignty: A Study of Social Movement Communication’, in 2012, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014 as Global Activism in Food Politics: Power Shift. Advocacy activities, including ongoing media work for La Via Campesina’s ally FIAN International (Food First Information and Action Network), is vital to her role as a researcher-activist. She has worked at FIAN’s International Secretariat in Heidelberg, Germany, editing, coordinating and contributing to FIAN’s flagship publication the Right to Food Quarterly and delivering training workshops to staff and contributed to the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch, a human rights monitoring tool supported by the office of the Special Rapporteur and UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee. In her work Alana is strongly committed to improving the engagement of rural citizens in policy-making.
Memberships Officer - Ben Mac
As a chef of 10 years experience and a graduate of the Bachelor Social Science (Environment) program at RMIT, Ben has a passion for sustainability and fair food systems. In 2013, Ben started a project called Greening RMIT, dedicated to promoted sustainable food and gardening on campus. Through this project, Ben created a student community garden to educate and inspire students to grow their own food at home. In 2015 alongside Sophie Lamond and Nick Rose, Ben helped in the initiation of a cross-institutional campaign called the Fair Food Challenge, advocating for Australian Universities to adopt more sustainable food procurement policies and provide affordable and healthy food options for students. Ben has experience hosting events, sustainable cooking workshops and facilitating urban greening projects.
Ordinary member - Michele Lally
After a brief stint in 5* Hotels, snowboarding and IT, Michele found her calling when she met her now husband Phil Lally. They started their original brand Savannah Lamb after a visit to the saleyards which showed the limited time the buyers gave their lambs after 8 months of care and hand feeding, and some sensory evaluation of their product and market research. Since that time, they have moved away from mixed farming including broadacre cropping of barley, wheat, canola and export hay, toward a multi species animal based pasture farming system producing Merino wool, crossbred lambs, chickens and heritage breed free range pigs in an effort to heal the landscape back to its original condition. Michele is a passionate member of the South Australian Food industry, advocates for family farming and has almost finished building Australia’s first licensed mobile abattoir in an effort to bring back the control to farmers, so they can set their own sell prices and brand their products for a wider marketing opportunity. Phil and Michele have a daughter Zara and spend any time off in the garden or enjoying a glass of their handcrafted wine.
Ordinary member - Sophie Lamond
Sophie Lamond is the co-leader of the Youth Food Movement Melbourne. YFM is a national volunteer-led organisation that aims to build the skills, knowledge and experience that young people have around food. She founded the Melbourne chapter after working the organisation in Sydney. Sophie is currently undertaking her masters in sustainable food systems, researching corporate responsibility in international nutrition and environmental politics. She has recently returned from the World Food Systems Summer School at ETH Zurich where she explored challenges in the global food system with students from nineteen countries. She has a keen interest in connecting eaters to their local and global food environments and making living well and eating ethically and sustainably an affordable and livable reality. Sophie is interested in how institutions formulate sustainability policies and empowering people to advocate for change in the systems in which they live. Sophie writes about food issues and campaigns for the development of sustainable food policies in tertiary institutions with the Fair Food Challenge.
Ordinary member - Gavin Williams
Gav Williams has combined his love of family, nature and food with his background in social justice to become a passionate advocate for good, clean and fair food. As a founding member and secretary, Gav played a number of key roles in the establishment of Canberra City Farm including strategic planning, community building, market stalls, social media, workshops and communications. Gav is a member of Slow Food and has also created his own Gourmet Gardener platform as a way of sharing information and resources to support and promote good, clean and fair food. Gav has a background in policy and program implementation and a strong understanding of government processes and has drawn on this to make contributions to various food policy planning processes including the People’s Food Plan and the ongoing development of an ACT Food Plan, response to the draft Federal Government National Food Plan (2012).
Public Officer — Zoe Bowman
Zoe Bowman grew up eating frozen vegetables and instant mashed potato and can’t quite remember when she realised that wasn’t the way she wanted to go about things. Abandoning a career in regulatory law, she spent five years working with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation as a trainer and is a passionate home vegetable grower. She continues to be involved with the Foundation and works more broadly in the non-profit sector. Her areas of interest are domestic food production, integrating kitchen garden education within the school curriculum and cooking really good dinners.
Management Committee 2013-2014
On 18 November 2013, AFSA held its first Annual General Meeting.
The main business of the AGM was to accept and confirm the nominations received for our new national Management Committee, which will have responsibility for guiding the work of AFSA over the next 12 months, and setting our strategic direction and priorities for the medium term.
The new Committee, which reflects an excellent diversity of skills, experience, and geographical location, as well as a healthy gender balance, is as follows:
President – Michael Croft
A farmer, Michael operates a vertically integrated, value adding, field to fork operation, bridging the city-country divide in southern NSW.
Passionate about biological farming, diversity and resilient food systems, he walks the talk of triple bottom line, promoting eating as an agricultural and ecological act.
Michael is a director of several industry organisations, a leader in the Slow Food movement, national spokesperson for the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, and author.
In 2012 Michael graduated from the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. In June 2013 he represented AFSA at the 6th Global Conference of La Via Campesina in Jakarta. In October 2013 he travelled to Rome to participate as the Australasian civil society representative in global discussions on food governance at the Committee on World Food Security (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation); and in November 2013 travelled to Brazil to participated in the International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty.
Carol is a food and agriculture sociologist based at a university in Brisbane.
She has served on the committee of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance for two years, and has been elected to the position of Convenor of the Australasian Agrifood Research Network for the last three years.
Carol has researched and published on topics such as sustainable agriculture, global food security, supermarket power in the supply chain, urban agriculture and global land acquisitions. She has been involved in major international projects, collaborating with food scholars from Norway, the US and Canada.
She works from Coop Campus Farm, an urban house block with chickens, veggie gardens, fruit trees and mini fish farm (aquaponics system).
Kali currently serves a number of roles on the national Executive Committee of the Australian Science Communicators, including bookkeeping, and strategic financial and business development decisions.
She is keen to contribute some of her time and experience to AFSA due to my own personal interest, values and passion for organic, local and sustainable food sources, including my concerns at recent developments in the business practices of GM food technology and the apparent lack of an Australian independent 'watch-dog' for potentially unethical corporate food-practices.
Nick is the national coordinator of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, and a Director of the Food Connect Foundation, affiliated with the Brisbane-based food social enterprise, Food Connect. Recently he was also appointed as Project Coordinator, Food Systems, for the Food Alliance at Deakin University in Melbourne, where he is leading an initiative to establish a Victorian Urban Agriculture Network and an Urban Agriculture Charter for Victoria.
Previously he worked and lived in England (1993-2000), and Guatemala (2000-2006), where he founded and directed a human rights organisation. He completed in May 2013 a doctoral thesis through RMIT University’s Global Cities Institute on the global movement for food sovereignty, and has worked with colleagues in Victoria and Queensland on local food scoping studies, as well as on sustainable agriculture and rural futures strategy development.
Locally, he was a co-founder and leading member of the Coffs Coast Local Food Alliance and the Bellingen Community Gardens Association.
Ordinary Committee members
Sandy Murray, Launceston, Tas
Coordinator, People’s Food Plan, Tasmania
Lecturer, Nutrition and Dietetics, UTAS
Sandy is an active member of the growing local and fair movement in Tasmania, including as a leading member of the Food Alliance of Tasmania.
She has been teaching nutrition and food science at the University level since 2004, in a number of university settings throughout Australia, and takes a learner-centred approach to her teaching. She has previously worked in industry for 12 years as a dietitian, including food, complementary medicine and nutraceutical industries, with her responsibilities ranging from food regulation (claims substantiation), business planning, product development, nutrition marketing through to health professional education.
Sonja Pryor, Canberra
Sonja is the co-proprietor of Burrawan Forest Farm (near Port MacQuarie, NSW), which runs Angus beef cattle.
She is also currently a full-time student at ANU, completing a Masters in Food Security, Agriculture and Sustainability / Environmental Science; and is a Director of two companies.
She also holds a degree in public relations / marketing from the University of Canberra and spent 18 years in government working as a communicator for a wide range of government departments. She has a PR company, Redgrass Communications, which is currently focused on pro bono community work.
Her family background is in sheep out west and she is the first generation to be brought up in a more urban setting. She would like to combine her knowledge of communication and messaging to change the debate.
Brooke ‘Sparkles’ Murphy, Fremantle, WA
Owner, Abundant Earth Education
Member / Co-ordinator, Permaculture West (www.permaculturewest.org.au)
Co-founder, Seed Savers WA
Sparkles trained at Findhorn eco-village some 8 years ago and since then has devoted her life to creating life changing experiences for people through Permaculture education. She is extra-ordinarly passionate about both Permaculture and the need to return to community hence her courses have a flavour uniquely her own and are intented to achieve both aims. Sparkles has been instrumental in the re-creation of the WA permaculture community in the last 5 years and is now in the process of collaborating to set up WA's first ever Seed Savers Network.
Lauren Mathers, Barham, NSW
Lauren is a free range pig farmer who was raised on a beef and mixed cropping farm near Wakool Southern NSW. She is a wife and mother of 2 girls. Lauren is the co-founder and President of a local food group called Red Gum Food Group Inc and Market Manager of Koondrook Barham Farmers Market.
Lauren has been instrumental in raising awareness of the need to build a dynamic and resilient local food system; and the way people perceive farmers and the food they grow. She opened a Food Store/restaurant in 2008 that introduced a new food culture to the Barham region, that has continued to be successful with new owners, and she was the instigator behind the farmers market.
Bundarra Berkshires has been selling pork for 2 years and has recently taken control of the whole food chain from paddock to plate where the family are raising, boning, packing and making small goods on the farm, and selling to the local IGA supermarket amongst other direct sales through farmers markets and home deliveries. Lauren has worked in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management and studied a BA in Agriculture at UNE.
Cat Green. Brisbane, QLD
Coordinator, People’s Food Plan / Fair Food Week, Brisbane / SEQ
Co-founder, Fair Food Brisbane (www.fairfoodbrisbane.org)
Cat Green is a radical homemaker with a passion for both healthy, local food and people working together to chart the future of our towns and cities.
Brisbane-based, Cat is active in the local food movement and her own backyard garden. She is currently studying how we can collectively democratise the food system as well as finishing up project work in disaster resilience building.
Alice Blackwood, Adelaide, SA
Friends of the Earth / Reclaim the Food Chain
Coordinator, People’s Food Plan / Fair Food Week, Adelaide / SA
Alice has been involved in and passionate about the food movement in various ways for several years. She grew up in rural NSW, with both parents from farming families, and a thriving home veggie patch; and was heavily involved in the university food cooperative, Thoughtful Foods, in Sydney. Since then Alice has been involved in several community food projects in Australia and Europe, completed a Permaculture Design Certificate, spent time on several farms, as well as reading endlessly and connecting with other fair food advocates. Currently she works (as a volunteer) on food sovereignty issues with the Reclaim the Food Chain collective, part of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.
She recently qualified as a high-school teacher (science and geography), and is interested in environmental education and education for social change, having a combined degree in Environmental Science and Arts (Politics). She is especially interested in exploring ways of integrating biodiversity conservation with food production; and has a (not-so)secret dream to start a community radio show about food issues in Australia.
Public Officer — Fiona Tito-Wheatland
Fiona Tito Wheatland is an activist across a range of areas, including foster care, mental health and sustainable agriculture.
She co-authored a report to the Standing Committee on Agriculture in the late 1980s on Sustainable Agriculture, has farmed on an organic farm for 10 years, and is currently involved in urban food-growing.
She provides workshops on home food processing and Food Matters Workshops – changing the world bite by bite – who show people how to reduce the carbon and other ecological footprints associated with food.
Thanks to the 2012–2013 Committee
We are extremely grateful to our retiring Committee members, Fran Murrell, Nat Wiseman, Bob Phelps, Russ Grayson and Robin Krabbe, and thank them for the efforts on behalf of AFSA over the past 18 months.