The Association's governance body is called the National Council (NC).
NC Members are appointed by the membership and elected for a two-year term.
There are currently seven members on National Council.
Marion Wood is Chair of the Council.
Marion Wood is executive director of Commonsense Organics. She is chair of the Organic Retailers of New Zealand, a former deputy chair of the Sustainable Business Network and on the Board of Fair Trade Wellington. She is also a director of Common Property Ltd, an organic market garden in Te Horo, an hour’s drive north of Wellington.
Her focus is on making organic food more accessible to people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and developing a successful ethical business paradigm based on organics, environmental sustainability and fair trade, as well as financial sustainability.
Marion has a long involvement in the not-for-profit sector. She is a former national director of the YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand, and worked as a founding consultant for the Waitangi Consultancy Group on Treaty of Waitangi issues. She was involved in:
• starting the first Trade Aid shop in Wellington;
• initiating and chairing the Council for International Development, the umbrella group for development agencies in Aotearoa New Zealand;
• a successful campaign to make Wellington the first fair trade capital in the southern hemisphere.
Jodie Bruning (B.Bus. Agribusiness) is a researcher and writer who, after researching pesticide risk assessment processes, recognised that modern science (including mixture effects, endocrine disruption, epigenetic risk) is not commonly integrated in risk assessment, and problematic reliance on chemical industry for data can result in biased assessments.
Jodie established https://www.rite-demands.org/ to recommend solutions to more safely protect the public (especially children) and our environment. Jodie believes that after climate change, chemical toxicity is the greatest threat humanity faces. She would like to support Soil & Health to strategically increase public knowledge around organics, pesticide free food and support farming families in transition from the chemical-industrial system.
Jodie and Steffan Browning co-authored a significant report on glyphosate toxicity which was supported by NZ public health scientists. Jodie is a trustee for Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility, a post-graduate student at Auckland University, and lives in the Bay of Plenty with her family.
Bernie lives on a lifestyle block in Wellsford, Auckland with her young family. With connections in the local rural community and as an aspiring market gardener, Bernie is a strong advocate for restoring harmony with the natural world through regenerative and organic food practices – eliminating toxicity and supporting healthier soils, waters and lifestyles.
With foundations in human geography and politics, Bernie’s passions lie in the relationships between people, place and space – their communities, culture, economy, politics and the environment. Bernie’s current interests include technological and industrial disruptions, digital economies and new economic futures – including food, environment, trade, livelihoods, mobility and resilience.
Bernie is a curious, determined and pragmatic leader of diverse teams in dynamic and complex systems. She has built a career in economic development, community planning, tourism and retail and has extensive experience in strategic planning, governance, policy analysis, business improvement, customer service and programme management.
Bernie has recently embarked on a new venture, Fresh as Local, born out of the recent national #hackthecrisisNZ 48-hour innovation challenge. The challenge brought together more than 966 Kiwis to design, test and bring to life innovative for ideas for about life in New Zealand beyond Covid-19. As a first step towards bringing the Fresh as Local vision to life – a ‘hyper-local’ world where farmers, communities and nature are connected, thriving and resilient – the team is collaborating with the Open Food Network New Zealand to help connect and build the capacity and capability of food growers and lovers across the country.
With my husband Richard Gillies I run a market garden in Rotorua, certified organic by OFNZ (www.luxorganics.co.nz). We have two boys aged 9 and 11. I have a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Auckland.
I am passionate about soil health, organic production methods, and rapidly reducing carbon emissions in the near future. Hence our farm uses low emissions technologies (hand tools, electric tools, and electric transport).
I have held chair, treasurer and secretary roles in Rotorua organisations such as Playcentre and our 250-member organic food co-op, and am particularly focussed on good governance and proper process being followed. Excellent communication and respect are key to any functioning organisation, as well as always returning to core values in any decision-making.
Lux Organics has gained a reputation as an innovator in its field, being one of the first companies in NZ to use fully home compostable salad bags.
As we face a global climate crisis impacting the health of our farms, communities, and ecology, I see Soil & Health as a much-needed compass for the land ethic innate to organics, and a champion for the work being done across Aotearoa to model thriving, equitable, and beautiful landscapes for our future.
With a background in arts and ecology, my work focuses on regenerative and community-led landscapes. Currently, I coordinate the Ōtākaro Orchard project, a $2M shared vision to create a local food hub in the Christchurch CBD and contribute to planning the Ōtākaro-Avon River Corridor (the 602 ha former red zone). I have extensive experience working with not-for-profits in fundraising, programmes, and strategy, and am able to fulfill all the responsibilities of this role. If appointed, I will be delighted (and accountable) to uphold the legacy of Soil & Health and help us sail through whatever weather in the years ahead.
Barbara has been co-opted onto National Council to help with governance and legal matters; she is now seeking election at AGM.
Barbara was raised within the farming community and later practised law as a general practitioner in conveyancing, estate work, civil, criminal and family law before specialising in 1986 in criminal and family law.
Barbara lived at Kutarere on a farm doing planting and stream protection from 1982, growing truffles, certified organic avocados, dry stock cattle, diverse forestry plantings.
Barbara retired from law 2017 and is keen to use her experience and legal expertise on National Council to support the growth and development of Soil & Health.
A society working in harmony with nature through the love of food is my core purpose. My professional and personal journey is to find the best ways for my passion, skills and knowledge to fulfil this purpose and help to create this future. I enjoy positions and projects where I am able to support the empowerment of individuals, groups and small business to make well-informed decisions that help to achieve a sustainable future.
Professionally I’ve worn a variety of hats across a number of sectors from research, government, education and grass roots community. My strengths lie in strategic planning and decision-making, an experienced governor with an understanding of local government and experience in scientific research, application and communication. Two years ago I had the opportunity to purchase land in South Invercargill where my partner and I are breathing life back into a small block of land. We are currently building a home and looking to create a business which will contribute to the local food economy. We are on a learning journey.
I am interested in a position on the Soil & Heath National Council because I see the considerable value of the Council's work, in particular its support of research into organics, providing information to stakeholders and influencing government policy-making. Through my varied background and professional experience I believe I can bring a complimentary set of skills and experience, as well as strong governance experience. I would be more than happy to discuss my nomination; please call me on 021 735 981.