|The National Committee is elected each year during the annual Food Sovereignty Convergence. The folks on the Committee help to guide the work of AFSA, offering their talents and expertise in everything from ethical farming techniques to international food policy advocacy. AFSA is lucky to have a team of dedicated and passionate people working to create equitable, sustainable and resilient food systems for all Australians. Join us in welcoming this year’s Committee members:
- President- Tammi Jonas
- Vice President- Katie Johnston
- Treasurer – Anna Treasure
- Secretary – Ruth Gaha-Morris
- International Liaison – Anisah Madden
- Ant Wilson
- Fraser Bailey
- Jess Brugmans
- Dan Cordner
- Katarina Munksgaard
- Ray Palmer
- Sarah de Wit – Paralegal
- Aly Brody – Policy, Research, and 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
Previously the AFSA Communications Officer, Katie J will serve in the role of Vice President for the 2018 – 2019 AFSA year.
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.
Anna Treasure, Treasurer
As an AFSA member for near on two years and an observer of AFSA’s work in the years before that, Anna joined the committee as interim Treasurer in May and has since done payroll, paid and reconciled accounts, reviewed and contributed to writing budgets and acted as a critical sounding board for discussion around the organisation’s financial operations. In the past, she ran her own micro-business and currently assists her partner in the bookkeeping of their small carpentry business.
Country-born and city-bred, Anna is a passionate and long-time ally and supporter of regenerative farmers and farming practices. She is also an even longer-time daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter of more conventional farmers and graziers on ceded Kurnai country in Gippsland. It has become clearer over time that many of the issues her family and friends have been grappling with are directly linked to food sovereignty and she is very excited to be part of an organisation that responds exactly to these concerns.
Anna studied Botany and Ecology at Monash University with a particular interest in native grassland ecology during her final year. Since then she has been a passionate educator of 20 years focused on equity, critical thinking skills and the provision of opportunities for the most marginalised students in our school system. Anna currently sits on her school’s leadership team.
Anna lives in Central Victoria with her husband and two young children on an emerging retrosuburban town block complete with house, workshop, ample self-sown kale and a year’s supply of garlic in the ground.
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.
Fraser Bayley is a 1st generation market farmer who started when he and his girlfriend Kirsti couldn’t find anything good to eat when they moved to a small rural town. When they looked into why and discovered the food system itself had issues they combined their quest for flavour with soil up activism and have been working for the past 12 years on trying to help develop a strong local food network in their region.
Having been involved with AFSA in various capacities since 2015, Kat will serve as a general committee member for 18/19 to support the ongoing fight for food sovereignty in Australia.
She is an anthropologist specialising in farming and interspecies relationships with a strong inclination to practice what she preaches by getting her 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 she shares with her husband, Paul.
Having grown up on an intensive pig farm in rural Denmark, she realised early on the detrimental effects of industrial and intensive farming. She believes 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.
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.
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 is keenly interested in everything food system and farmers’ rights, and brings a background in international law to the General Member position. While completing graduate studies on farmers’ rights and intellectual property rights regarding seeds and their propagation and fieldwork with
Nepali farmers and their resilient communities facing climate change adaption, Jess saw the light, and realized just how important improving laws for farmers truly is. These experiences are what Jess attributes to her becoming an ally for farmers and supporter of the food sovereignty movement.
Jess has worked all over regional Australia on dairy and poultry farms, as well as used the WWOOFing system to meet amazing permaculturists. Before falling for Australia, Jess worked for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture representing farmers and food producers in Scandinavia, and is now eager to get back to contributing to healthy food systems by joining the National Committee.
Staff Members Profiles
Sarah de Wit, AFSA Legal Defence Fund Paralegal
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.
Aly Brody, Research, Policy, and Administrative Assistant
Aly is an American transplant who fell in love with Australia, farming, and food sovereignty while completing a year of research and travel funded by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. Through her Watson Fellowship Aly researched the impact that large-scale agribusiness is having on small-scale family farms, the environment, and the future of food. Fueled by her past experiences WWOOFing in America, volunteering for seed banks in Thailand, and working with Slow Food in Australia and Germany, Aly joined AFSA as a means to stay involved in the fight for fair food in the country she now proudly calls home.
Aly holds a degree in government and environmental science from Wellesley College. She earned her Permaculture Design Certification in 2016 from the Panya Project. Aly hopes to someday build upon her degree, research experience, and the experiences she continues to gain working for AFSA by becoming an environmental lawyer.