The Association’s governance body is called the National Council (NC). It usually consists of seven members who are appointed by the membership. NC members are elected for a two-year term.
Marion Thomson, Chair
Greetings all, I consider it an honour to be involved with the Soil & Health Association of NZ through the National Council and I welcome the opportunity to continue my work with an organisation that has such an inspiring vision. Organic Aotearoa by 2020. Imagine that!
I am involved on many levels with individuals, groups, schools and communities who are all on the pathway to achieving this vision. People that are working to become more self reliant, growing their own organic food, supporting organic growers, buying local, and working towards a lower carbon economy.
I am currently a tutor for EIT / Tairawhiti Polytech at Auntys Garden, Waipatu Marae. I am teaching fulltime levels 1-3 Horticulture Courses, which are free and marae based. I have been involved at Aunty’s Garden and at Waipatu Marae since the large garden for the community was developed in Spring 2010. I have also taught over 100 whanau basic gardening, health, nutrition and cooking skills through contracts with the HBDHB and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.
I am currently completing the last papers of my Poutuarongo Kaitiakitanga Pūtaiao PKP (Environmental Science Degree) and have completed a Heke Rongoa (Diploma in Māori Medicine and Healing) and Heke Kaitiakitanga Pūtaiao (Diploma in Environmental Science ) at Te Wananga o Raukawa.
I am the OFNZ Certification Manager for the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne areas.
I promote ecological sustainability on a daily basis through many different projects including: information and education, green waste and food waste recycling, organic certification (OFNZ), organic gardening, green building, restoration projects.
I look forward to continuing my work with the priorities of the Association: growing the dedicated membership base, producing Organic NZ, providing essential advocacy on behalf of S&H members and the public on issues of food safety and security.
The Soil & Health Association has the potential to improve and strengthen not only the environmental, but also the social and economic framework of Aotearoa.
– Marion was first co-opted on to the NC in 2003 and has served since then, she is currently elected for the 2013-2015 term.
Matt Morris, deputy co-chair
Matt has been involved with the Soil & Health Association for more than fifteen years, as a committee member of the Canterbury branch, to chairing the branch, to sitting on National Council, chairing NC and now as Deputy Chair.
Matt thinks “it’s a great privilege to serve on the world’s oldest organisation promoting organics. There is a huge amount of work to be done if we are going to achieve our vision of an organic Aotearoa by 2020, and I’m really enjoying giving everything I have to make this a reality.”
As Chair and Co-Chair Matt worked with National Council and the Patrons, and the branches to craft a new ten year strategy for the Association. He is now focussed primarily on fostering the branches.
Matt began his journey in organics working for Christchurch’s Organic Garden City Trust, and then as the Christchurch Community Gardens Association Advocate, the coordinator for Canterbury Organic and the first national secretary of Organic Farm NZ. After completing his PhD in Christchurch’s social and environmental history he worked in organic retail, served as an elected member of local government and then took a job in the University of Canterbury’s Sustainability Office. He is currently the Coordinator of Edible Canterbury and is starting up his own organic food processing business, The Urban Monk.
The national coordinator of Te Waka Kai Ora, Moko Morris, is excited about supporting maara kai in Ōtaki, where she is based, to become Hua Parakore verified. A former enviroschools facilitator, Moko is now a teacher in the environmental unit, Te Puna, at Te Wananga o Raukawa. Her year two students learn skills to evaluate the health and wellbeing of freshwater ecosystems at catchment scale, te reo Māori, and iwi and hapu studies which explore their marae, history, waiata. The students also receive a one-year subscription to Organic NZ. Moko will also be working with Ngā Purapua (Institute of Māori Lifestyle and Advancement Centre) to develop healthy eating and cooking classes.
Through serving S&H, I wish to achieve more sustainable food production in New Zealand. This is the only way to get better quality nutrition to New Zealanders. Through “Healthy soil, healthy food” we can grow healthy people. I would add to the skills on the National Council because:
- For ten years I was a BioGro certified sheep and beef farmer on 1200Ha. I know how hard it is to be a licensee.
- I have had governance experience, with Federated Farmers, the Beef Council and the Animal Health Board.
- Having been a farmer all my life, I take a pragmatic approach to issues. We need to influence the agri-business sector as well as our own community.
I am studying to qualify as a health coach. I passionately believe that organic food and products can make a huge and positive difference in all our lives.
Mark has been an organic farmer in some form over 30 years on 3 continents now, and has been a longstanding Trustee of the Soil Association in the UK.
He is a company director who has serial commercial governance experience with organic brands and has made a lifetime mission, of putting sustainable agriculture into practical action.
Mark has lived in Nelson with his family for the past 10 years. He is presently Chair of Biogro Ltd and is keen to help Soil & Health, and support the strengthening of the organic movement in its further development towards the vision during the merger process.
As a member of the Soil & Health Association’s National Council, I can offer experience and leadership skills that are specifically relevant to the possible merger with the BioGro Society (including BioGro Ltd) and the further developments of organics in NZ. My professional career has centred around the technical aspects of organic production, building networks, value adding, inspection and engaging with certification providers (such as BioGro Ltd) to help build consumer trust in organic products and improve producer’s income.
I am a member of OFNZ Coromandel and I serve on IFOAM PGS committee and I also work in Asia and the Pacific supporting initiatives to help producers gain recognition in local markets and expand their organic sectors. Past leadership roles in NZ include President of Soil & Health Association, a leadership role in the establishment of the BioGro NZ and later the development of Organic Farm NZ (OFNZ).
Gaz has been involved in the NZ organic scene for over 20 years, firstly as an organic pipfruit grower in Hawkes Bay and now as Organic & Biological Manager for Farmlands Co-operative Society Ltd. Gaz is also currently a Director for BioGro NZ Ltd, NZ’s leading organic certification company and Chair of the NZ Biological Producers and Consumers Society Incorporated. He is a long term resident of Hawkes Bay, originally growing up on a sheep and beef farm and now lives in Hastings, Hawkes Bay with wife Sarah and daughter Madison.
Gaz is a strong supporter of not only the organic industry in New Zealand but also those who are actively trying to reduce their agrichemical and fertiliser usage by adopting newer forms of inputs and practices and developing better understanding of the chemistry options they choose to use in their operations.