On 18 October 2015, AFSA held its third 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 – 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.