AFSA’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 16th October to finish up the Food Sovereignty Convergence in Canberra. Below are the nominations for AFSA’s 2019 National Committee.
Please note: Nominee photos and additional nominations for vacant roles to be uploaded shortly!
Office Bearer Positions
President – Tammi Jonas
Renominating for the role of President, in her bio Tammi writes:
I have been the AFSA President since 2014, I’m re-nominating for President in 2019 to continue to lend my strong female farmer’s voice to the fight for food sovereignty in Australia.
My darling hypercompetent husband Stuart is Chief Farmer and I’m Chief Butcher here at Jonai Farms in the central highlands of Victoria, where we raise heritage breed Large Black pigs and a small herd of mixed cattle, as well as a small annual crop of garlic. I’m a former vegetarian academic turned pig-farming butcher, transforming whole carcasses into a range of fresh cuts, smallgoods, salumi, & charcuterie, and selling our produce predominantly through a thriving CSA (community-supported agriculture) to 85 wonderful households of ethical omnivores.
Jonai Farms is an ethically viable no-growth model – 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.
I’ve been worrying at the ills of industrial food since reading Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in 1991, and writing about food culture, ethics and politics since 2006 at my blog Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics. Jonai Farms features in Australia’s first food politics documentary Fair Food, and I also have a chapter in the anthology Fair Food, published by UQ Press.
As President over the past three years I have worked solidly 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, which has supported many farmers encountering legal obstacles in their work to grow a better food system.
I have helped AFSA establish its voice and authority on a range of issues and secured our position as a key stakeholder in food systems in Australia. Our work over the past four years has resulted in landmark reforms to the planning scheme in Victoria that acknowledges the lower risk of pastured livestock systems, strongly enabling the growth of this critical section of the food sovereignty movement.
My 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 the leading voice of the global food sovereignty movement La Via Campesina (LVC).
The extent of my work in Australia and internationally has deepened and broadened my understanding of the issues in the food system locally and globally, and I’m 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.
Vice President – Katie Johnston
Previously the AFSA Communications Officer, Katie J is nominating for VP this year. She explains:
I currently hold the role of AFSA Communications Officer and am nominating for the role of Vice President, in order to better make use of my skillset and further communicate the objectives of food sovereignty in Australia to a wider audience.
I graduated from a double Bachelor’s Degree in Social and Environmental Science in 2016 and bring with my excellent communication skills, a love of working with people and a desire to increase the support for small-scale and regenerative farmers in Australia. I have a passion for holistic land management practices and although not a farmer, I am excited to see these implemented in as many operations as possible and love working with and for people who are making these choices to support landscape function and create better food systems.
I have been working 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, I managed a hospitality business in Brunswick East with my partner and spent an extended time WWOOFing in North America before university, where I fell in love with rural life. I obtained my Permaculture Certificate at Milkwood in 2011.
My help with current and former AFSA campaigns, including work on and leading to the Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries outcomes, the Artisanal Agriculture program in Victoria and the work undertaken by AFSA that facilitates ongoing food system improvement has inspired me to renominate for the AFSA Committee and continue what I consider incredibly valuable work. I am also inspired by Tammi Jonas, who I think doesn’t sleep, and am in daily awe of her indefatigable contribution to the food sovereignty movement in Australia and globally. I love working with such a great team of people who are committed to making the world a better place, one farm/worker/animal/policy reform at a time. I am excited about the current constitutional reform happening within the organisation, which I hope will lead to increased food sovereignty and improved policy outcomes for small-scale Australian farmers, with AFSA being increasingly recognised as the peak representative body for them. 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.
I am excited about the expansion of the VP role to include care for volunteers and a broader focus on membership. My work with AFSA over the last year and half has helped broaden the foundational knowledge of the inherent issues within local and global food systems I gained farming and at university, and I am 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.
Secretary – Ruth Morris
Treasurer – Anna Treasure
Having run as interim Treasurer this past May, Anna Treasure has put forward her nomination to run for the position this year. Sh writes:
An AFSA member for near on two years and an observer of their work in the years before that, I joined the committee as interim Treasurer this past May and, since then, have done payroll, paid and reconciled accounts, reviewed and contributed to writing budgets and have been a critical sounding board for discussion around the organisation’s financial operations. In the past, I ran my own micro-business and currently assist my partner in the bookkeeping of our small carpentry business.
Country born and city-bred, I’m a passionate and long-time ally and supporter of regenerative farmers and farming practices but I’m an even longer-time daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter of more conventional farmers and graziers on ceded Kurnai country in Gippsland. So much of the discussion I’ve heard from family and friends over so many years is directly linked to issues of food sovereignty and it is incredible to be a part of an organisation that responds to exactly these concerns.
In the early days, when I wasn’t up a cliff-face or in a cave system, I studied Botany and Ecology as a major within my Arts degree at Monash University with a particular interest in native grassland ecology in my final year. This ran in parallel with my involvement in student politics and activism around education. Since then I’ve been a passionate educator of 20 years focused on equity, critical thinking skills and providing opportunities for the most marginalized students in our school system, that is, young women who are not considered academic learners. I sit on the leadership team of my current school.
I lived in Hanoi for two years in my 20’s just as Vietnam “re-opened”, post- American war, and witnessed the very beginnings of their transition from agrarian socialism to capitalism, working part-time as a proofreader at Vietnam News. Ten years ago I obtained a Master in Education Policy (International) at the University of Melbourne which focused on access and equity issues in light of the massification of schooling and the effects of globalisation on education systems. Furthermore, it understood the ways that socio-historical factors continue to play out in current policy-making and how this makes a rigorous international comparison of systems challenging. I do love looking for patterns in data.
We live in Central Victoria with our two young children on our emerging retrosuburban town block complete with house, workshop, ample self-sown kale and a year’s supply of garlic in the ground.
International Liason – Anisah Madden
My background as a herbalist, organic market gardener, and agri-food co-operative worker/owner and member in Canada drew me into food sovereignty advocacy work in my 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 me about the possibilities and challenges faced by those seeking agency over their food systems.
I became involved in community agricultural development in a small rural town in British Columbia, Canada. Here I was a founding member of the Kettle Valley Food Co-op, a multi-stakeholder food cooperative with an online ordering system. With three friends, I 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.
My interest in food and seed sovereignty and environmental justice grew during these involvements, as did my frustration with political and economic policy that placed corporate interests above people’s right to food. I completed a B.A.H. in International Development Studies in 2013, which allowed me to develop analytical and discursive tools to understand, think, and articulate more effectively for advocacy and action. Building that intellectual, organisational, and ethical leadership capacity.
I am currently a PhD Candidate at Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society. My 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.
I became involved with AFSA during the 2017 Convergence as a general member and then filled the position of Secretary from Aug-Oct 2018. In spite of currently approaching the harvest season for my 4Ha of fruit trees, I would like to nominate myself for the position of Secretary for 2018/19. I have had an incredible time working with AFSA and learned a great deal about food sovereignty, collectivism and active optimism. I believe in the potential influence of our struggle and see the importance of achieving food sovereignty in restructuring food and agriculture systems for the good of the earth and its diverse communities.
I will be very busy over summer running a CSA from my farm, attending farmers’ markets, working with our organic farming co-op etc but the critical nature of the work AFSA does drives me to continue to be involved. I hope to work with you all in 2018/19.
Fraser Bailey –
Jess Brugmans –
I am keenly interested in everything food system and farmers’ rights and impressed by AFSA and the choices the alliance have been making on topics and issues to focus on and pursue.
I have an academic background in international law but really saw the light on the shift needed in our food systems when completing my graduate studies on farmers’ rights and intellectual property rights regarding seeds and their propagation, The field work I completed with Nepali farmers and their resilient communities facing climate change adaption and a jungle of laws and policies pertaining to their daily seed and farming choices is what I say shaped me into an ally for farmers and supporter of the food sovereignty movement.
The past year I have learned an incredible amount all over regional Australia working on dairy and poultry farms, as well as using the WWOOFing system to meet amazing permaculturists. Before falling for Australia I worked for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture representing farmers and food producers in Scandinavia, and I am now eager to get back to contributing to healthy food systems by joining the National Committee.
Dan Cordner –
Dan, along with his wife Leanne their 2 daughters Adele and Hayley run Bellasato Farm. He writes:
“We’re custodians of 140 acres of farmland overlooking Hinchinbrook Island in tropical North Queensland. We farm premium Sommerlad meat chickens along with a small amount of sugar cane. We also grow a few veggies and an ever-increasing bounty of tropical fruits.
As everyone does from time to time, we came to crossroad – a stage in our lives where we really stepped out of our situation and asked ourselves what did we want to do for the next 5-10+ years? What environment did we want to raise our children in? If we could do anything without fear of failure, what would we do?
Having spent most of our collective years being city folks, we were by and large disconnected from the food system, who grew our food and how. That was until we were blessed with our first daughter – and somehow being responsible for another little life thrust many questions before us that we’d never truely delved into for ourselves. We wanted to provide great quality food for ourselves and the community around us. We wanted our kids to grow up in a great environment, learning about where their food came from while being able to climb trees or fish for tadpoles – just being able to be kids. We didn’t want “work” to get in the way of family – no more missed birthdays or special moments. After all, the kids are only this age once, there only ever is one 4th birthday. We share breakfast, lunch and dinner together almost every day, and love nothing more than a great meal that we produced with our community of friends and family.
There are a lot of reasons why we’re doing what we are, but it was inspiration from other producers doing amazing things that brought us to where we are today. Inspiration from Joel Salatin, Darren Doherty, Jeff Pow, Michelle McManus, and getting to know some of the community of local producers helped us gain enough knowledge and motivation to make it happen.
We moved onto the farm 2.5 years ago, having never farmed in our lives. We literally jumped 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. When moving onto the farm we’d always planned to farm chickens, and perhaps one day a few head of cattle to run in front of the birds. We made plenty of mistakes in our first years, and learnt a hell of a lot – you never do stop learning.”
Katrina Munksgaard –
Having been involved with AFSA in various capacities since 2015, I’m nominating for a general committee member position for 18/19 to support the ongoing fight for food sovereignty in Australia.
I am an anthropologist specialising in farming and interspecies relationships with a strong inclination to practice what I preach by getting my own hands dirty. This currently means practicing soil and critter friendly gardening and attentively tending to the animals on the 10-acre property in South West Vic that I share with my husband, Paul.
Having grown up on an intensive pig farm in rural Denmark, I realised early the detrimental effects of industrial and intensive farming. I believe strongly that food sovereignty as a concept is fitting to start to tackle these issues because it emphasises people’s democratic right to access nutritious and culturally-appropriate food grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways.
I have worked specifically on the topic of genetically modified crops in India and the farmers who farm these crops. During my years at university, I studied and wrote extensively about the globalized and commodified food system and analysed the detrimental social and environmental effects these systems have on especially people in the Global South. I also 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.
I initially got involved with AFSA in 2015 through an internship to support my thesis work for completing an MsC in Environmental and Conflict Analysis. At that time, I interviewed and interacted with a large number of small-scale regenerative farmers all over Australia giving me with an in- depth understanding of both the motivations behind choosing these farming methods and the current issues that farmers face.
Since then, I have been on the AFSA committee in different capacities including as a paid intern and a short stint as VP. This year, in the role of International Liason, I travelled to South Africa with Tammi to strategize and meet with fellow food sovereignty activists from various civil society organisations from all over the world. This trip broadened my knowledge of how food sovereignty issues are interconnected and the unquestionable need for strong collaborations and solidarity among activists from civil society if we, people, are to have any say at all in how our food is grown, distributed and utilised and how natural resources are treated.
As a general member of the committee for the coming year, I’m committed to keeping that knowledge circulating within and outside the AFSA organisation and contribute, as best I can, to the great work that AFSA is doing.
Ray Palmer –
Along with my family, I am a full time farmer growing vegetables and cattle near Stanthorpe in southern Queensland.
Our farm direct markets to people in our local community and in Brisbane collaboratively with other small farmers in our area.
My 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.
I believe the future of farming must include small scale family farmers and I want to support the work of AFSA in the food sovereignty movement.
Barbara Konstas –
Barbara has over 30 years experience in the Seafood industry, covering many facets of the supply chain, including wholesale, retail, harvesting sector and processing. An in depth knowledge of the industry with a commitment to sustainability, local competitiveness and successful Australian commercial fishing industry.
Key achievements have seen the overseeing and managing the formation of the Melbourne Seafood Centre, the only wholesale seafood market in Victoria, assisting in the development of food safety processes and facilitated the increase of local seafood in key retail outlets. An advocate for local commercial fishers she is actively involved in supporting the fishing industry. Victorian Director of Womens Industry Network Seafood Community.