Our Trustees are:
After a successful career in food and drink marketing, Annabel devoted a lot of time to local campaigns to raise the standard of school meals. Two years ago she was approached by Twin Trading, the Fairtrade company behind Cafedirect coffee and Divine chocolate to join their New Sector Development group, which adds value to Fairtrade products through innovation and professional marketing. Her knowledge of how both the big food and drink companies and the big supermarket groups operate, and especially of the tactics they use to try to influence consumers, has been key to this role.
Joanna is a journalist specialising in food issues. She writes for a wide range of newspapers and magazines and broadcast frequently on the pressing food debates of the day. She has written six landmark books, including The Food We Eat, Shopped and What to Eat. Since she began writing about food in 1988, she has been an unabashed advocate of organic food and farming.
Neil Canetty-Clarke (Hon. Treasurer)
Neil is the co-founder of www.schoolstrader.com the free community trading website. He is a graduate of Edinburgh University and has worked in financial roles for Morgan Grenfell, LWT, Guardian Media Group, iTouch, Granada and ITV. In 2006, he attended the AMP at Harvard Business School. Neil is married with three children and lives on a small farm in East Sussex. He and his wife have been producer members of the Soil Association since 1999 - their arable/grass farm became fully organic in 2000 - and they currently have a small flock of Romney sheep and produce haylage.
Renée founded Planet Organic, which is the UK's largest independent organic retailer and now has three stores in central London. She has worked in the organic industry since 1991 and has served on council since 1999. She has also served on the standards board and currently sits on the multiple retailers working group. Renée sits on the Government's Organic Action Plan committee and is an advisor on organic issues to a major US fund.
Martin's extensive career has covered rural policy development, rural recreation and sustainability. He was Social Research Adviser to the Countryside Commission, Director of the Countryside Commission in Wales and Chief Executive of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Association of National Park Authorities. He has been instrumental in a range of projects to encourage more sustainable use of common land, local food processing, rural regeneration and community participation, including pioneering Welsh food festivals and establishing Coed Cymru, the Welsh woodland initiative.
As a freelance writer on food and farming, Graham has campaigned for organic or ecological agriculture most of his working life. Following a spell at Farmers Weekly, his campaigning began in the early 1980s with a feature on the perils of growth hormones in cattle. He was the first UK journalist to write (in Farming News) of the dangers of using the growth hormone BST on dairy cows. For a number of years he wrote the Old Muckspreader column in Private Eye, and later wrote his first book, The Killing of the Countryside. As a freelance writer he has worked on The Archers for 25 years, first as a scriptwriter and more recently as Agricultural Story Editor. In 2010 he joined with science writer Colin Tudge to put on an alternative Oxford farming conference under the motto: Good food for everyone forever.
Phil first became a member of the Soil Association at 14 years old - the beginning of a life long involvement in organic food and farming. Experience has come from five years farming in Scotland, five years working on a city farm with education at its heart and 25 years retailing, wholesaling, growing and delivering organic food with a commitment to sustainability and community throughout. The award winning Better Food Company started life in 1992 and is a pioneering and successful organic food business with operations covering retail, a box scheme and wholesale. The company grows vegetables and fruit on 22 acres near Bristol and Phil is currently playing a leading role in setting up a large CSA near Bristol.
Dr David Main
David is a veterinary surgeon and Reader in Animal Welfare at the University of Bristol Veterinary School. He is a member of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (formerly Council). He has research interests in welfare assessment, intervention strategies to improve welfare and animal welfare education. David has had a longrunning interest in organic livestock that started with an undergraduate project that evaluated a herbal wormer. He has a long-standing relationship with the Soil Association including a period on the standards committee (1997-99), supervising a veterinary resident working with Soil Associaton Certification (2005-08), and now as project co-ordinator of a joint project, AssureWel. This project, which is also a collaboration with RSPCA, aims to embed welfare outcomes into the assurance process. He believes that the veterinary profession should advocate organic principles to all their clients and has endeavoured to increase organic-related teaching in the veterinary course at Bristol. David also has a wider interest in food sustainability issues and is a member of the Food Ethics Council.
John has been a self-employed organic market gardener since 1991, running a box scheme for the greater Belfast area. Previously, John worked as a farm manager at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and as a gardener with the Camphill Communities of Ireland. He is the director and current chairman of the Organic Centre in Leitrim, Republic of Ireland and grower representative on the Northern Ireland Organic Action Plan Group. John is the devolved nations' member for Northern Ireland.
Orna NiChionna (Chair)
Orna joined the Soil Association in 1990, and became more involved when she bought a small organic farm in 2001. Having had a 20 year career in business consulting, she started advising Council members on how to deal more effectively with the business community, and was co-opted to Council in 2002. In 2004, she became vice chair; she also served as chair of Soil Association Certification Limited in 2005 and 2006. She is a non-executive director of a number of public and private companies and is the current chair of the Council (2007).
Dennis Overton (Vice Chair)
Dennis is the devolved nations' member for Scotland. He has recently taken responsibility for the family croft in the north Highlands, and is currently building a partnership with 200 small farmers in Rwanda, developing a European market for organic geranium oil. In the late 1990s, Dennis helped pioneer organic salmon farming, and since the early 1990s has been managing director of Aquascot, a Ross-shire sustainable seafood business. Dennis is also involved in working to improve the Highlands' poorest performing secondary school which includes growing organic food with the pupils, and in the development of Scotland Food and Drink, the private-public partnership.
Anna Rosier started working in the consumer industry in 1994 and joined Organix, the organic baby and toddler food company, in 2004. Running Organix, a Trustee of the Organix Foundation and Chair of the Organic Trade Board, she is a passionate advocate of organic food and farming.
Dr Gabriel Scally
Gabriel has been a long-time supporter of the Soil Association, helping where he can to support its work in the world of public health. He acted as a referee for the Food for Life Partnership lottery bid and has worked closely with the Food for Life team over the last five years to support the success of this great programme in schools and communities. He is a public health physician working in the NHS and has been Regional Director of Public Health for the South West of England since the 1990s.
Geetie Singh MBE
Geetie was founder and Managing Director of The Duke of Cambridge organic gastropub in north London, the only one to earn Soil Association certification. She grew up in a commune in Worcestershire, which gave her a solid grounding in organic issues. Geetie later worked in the restaurant trade and opened the pub in 1998 with the view to running a business that was ethical as well as profitable, serving organic food and upholding the highest sustainable business practices.
Pat is a former editor of The Ecologist, and has a long relationship with the organic movement. She wrote the Soil Association book Stuffed: Positive Action to Prevent a Global Food Crisis and contributed to the Stuffed website. She also hosted some of the London premiers for the Soil Association-backed film Food Inc. She is a passionate believer in the role organic food plays in health and was on the panel of the Rethinking Diets workshop at our 2012 conference. She has previously headed up CIWF’s award-winning campaign against the Nocton mega-dairy and has worked on sustainability projects with Neal’s Yard Remedies.
Charles worked in the agricultural merchanting trade for a number of years, ending up with his own company. This progressed into a major transport, distribution and warehousing business based in the West Country. He has always farmed livestock in addition to his commercial activities and for the past eight years has been a full time working farmer. Since 2003 Charles has been a member of the Soil Association Producer Board, seeking to represent the interests of upland livestock producers. He took over as Chair of the Producer Board in 2004 and has been a member of the Soil Association Standards Board since 2005.
Andrew joined the Soil Association in 1973 and three years later founded The Village Bakery Melmerby, which became one of the country’s leading organic bakeries. He left The Village Bakery in 2002, did a Masters in Food Policy and wrote Bread Matters, described by one reviewer as ‘a searing critique of commercial baking methods’. In 2008, he co-founded the Real Bread Campaign, which aims to bring good bread to every neighbourhood in the land. In 2011, he received the Special Judges Award at the BBC Food & Farming Awards for ‘changing the way we think about bread’. From 2003-09, he chaired the Soil Association Processing Standards Committee and sat on the Standards Board and Certification Scrutiny Committee. Now based near Edinburgh, he is developing a small agro-forestry project on five organic acres producing food, fuel and a diverse landscape.
Nigel has run a trout farm in Cumbria for the past 25 years, which was amongst the first to become organic. He has been instrumental in developing organic standards for fish and is chair of the aquaculture standards committee. Nigel has a background in teaching, some of it in the developing world.
The current Management Committee:
Orna NiChionna - Chair
Dennis Overton - Vice Chair
Neil Canetty-Clarke - Hon. Treasurer
Charles Weston - Elected by Council