Below are the nominations for AFSA’s 2020-2021 National Committee.
Office Bearer Positions
President – Tammi Jonas
Renominating for the role of President, Tammi writes:
I have been the AFSA President since 2014, I’m re-nominating for President in 2020 to continue to lend my strong female farmer’s voice to the fight for food sovereignty in Australia.
My darling hyper competent 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 six 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 – Nick Holliday
Nick is a small-scale grassfed beef and pastured poultry farmer, living and working on Jinibara land in the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland.
Nick joined the AFSA National Committee as Membership Officer in 2019. He has a long history of organising community and worker collectives and believes passionately that the only way we can make the changes we need in our society is to increase our membership, make sure that membership is educated on issues and solutions and above all is prepared to take action in support of our goals.
Secretary – Ruth Morris
I wish to renominate to the role of Secretary for the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, which I have occupied for the past two years. I am currently based in Bungendore NSW, Australia, where I work to coordinate the activities of Southern Harvest Association (SHA). SHA is a not-for-profit organisation at the forefront, in our region, of increasing the availability of local food and fibre products, through farmer-consumer networking activities such as authentic Farmers Markets, Aggregated Produce Boxes, produce distribution and storage networks, education and advocacy.
In my past I have worked as a registered nurse I have seen first hand the results of poor nutrition on health and welfare outcomes, across many social contexts. I have also farmed my own land and experienced the ups and downs of producing food and fibre for my community. I have had a wide variety of experience working on many farms around the country with diverse enterprises and run now run my own catering business. This places me in a position to be able to understand the struggles on both sides of the equation of farmer and eater and gives me a solid grounding from which to work to facilitate networks of farmers and eaters.
I like to be actively involved in making change towards a better future and am currently half way through my two year term as Australasian representative/facilitator for the Civil Society Mechanism to the Committee on World Food Security. I also currently hold a seat on the Coordination Committee
Treasurer – Dan Cordner
Dan, along with his wife Leanne their 2 daughters Adele and Hayley run Bellasato Farm. Having joined the committee as a general committee member in 2019, Dan is re-nominating for the position of Treasurer, which he has held for the past year. 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 truly 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.
My interest in AFSA came about when we started farming, as a community we wanted to be a part of to share experiences and learn from others. I’m experienced in financial governance and management through managing our own business, and as the treasurer for Ingham State School for the last 3 years.
Amy Pagett joined the AFSA National Committee as a general member in 2019, and re-nominates to continue as a general member.
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 and then years later completed a Master of Sustainability at Sydney Uni. Professionally, work always seemed to involve food – from a boutique Italian fruit and veg grocer, to the glossy pages of delicious. Magazine, the e-commerce world of HelloFresh and at Yume Food, and now working at Melliodora permaculture demonstration site. Amy’s aim is to continue working to 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 to wish to live and take part in.
Randal Breen nominates to join the National Committee as a general member. He writes:
As a co-farmer of Echo Valley Farm we have been operating for the past 6 years producing pastured eggs, pastured pork and grass fed beef. We run a stacked, integrated, multispecies, holistic operation which bases our 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 our 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 I worked in the field of Community Arts, Social Science and Community Development, and hold a Bachelor of Social Science. I 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.
La Vergne Lehmann
La Vergne is currently the Business Development Advisor for the Barengi Gadjin Land Council, based in Horsham. In this role she is focussing on the redevelopment of the Wail Native Nursery and bushfood projects to help the Traditional Owner community become economically sustainable. Prior to this this role she was the Executive Officer of the Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group (GCWWRRG) where she focused on food waste and community engagement around waste and resource recovery
La Vergne has a very broad background having worked as a waste nerd, journalist and media analyst, agricultural college teacher, NRM, tourism manager and accountant. She has qualifications in journalism, sustainable agriculture, adult education, food studies, business and ecotourism. She has lived in the Wimmera at Dimboola for almost 20 years and now lives on the old Lehmann farm home block of 50 acres with her husband.
She currently serves on the boards of the Wimmera Health Care Group and the Wimmera Catchment management Authority and is co-chair of the Wimmera Regional Climate Adaptation Group.
Georgina nominates for the International Liaison role, with the goal of contributing to effective communication between AFSA members and multilateral organizations, and centring the lived experience of food producers in global policy making.
Georgina has professional experience in stakeholder management with global food and nutrition policy actors including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization. She is currently actively involved in advocacy as volunteer with the NSW Branch committee of the Public Health Association of Australia, which has contributed to her experience in policy advocacy.
Georgina has also worked extensively to support the food movement in Sydney for over 6 years, including as co-leader of the Sydney chapter of the Youth Food Movement, volunteering at Pocket City Farms, and working for Ooooby Sydney – a local, seasonal, and organic fruit and vegetable box company.