Meet the Soil Association Standards Board...
Dr Benjamin Dent, Chair of the Soil Association Standards Board
Dr Benjamin Dent is a Senior Associate with Value Chain Management International and a Senior Fellow at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Queensland. He has been advising the Soil Association on its standards since 2006, initially on the Processing Standards Committee, becoming Standards Board chair in 2018. Ben undertakes consultancy and research roles across the agri-food sector, working in the UK, Australia, Africa and North America. He is on the board of the Centre for Food Chain Excellence, and formerly was on the Council of the South of England Agricultural Society; the board of the Farm Retail Association and chaired Kent Farmers’ Market Association.
Dr Gabriel Scally, Chair of the Soil Association Board of Trustees
Dr Gabriel Scally is from Co Antrim, Ireland. He is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Soil Association. Gabriel is visiting Professor of Public Health at both the University of the West of England (UWE) and Honorary Professor at the University of Bristol (UoB). He currently works in UoB, teaching and also jointly leading research into health and the planning of urban settlements. Gabriel recently carried out a high-profile inquiry for the Irish Government into the failure of their cervical screening programme. He, along with Liam Donaldson, developed the concept of ‘clinical governance’ and has dealt with several high-profile NHS clinical service failures in England.
Sue Dibb, Chair of the FFLSH Standards Committee
Sue Dibb is the Chair of the Food for Life Served Here Standards Committee. Sue is passionate about the need to create healthy, fair, sustainable food systems and the importance of governments, businesses and civil society working together to enable this transition. Her previous roles include Executive Director of the Eating Better Alliance, Director of the Food Ethics Council, Head of Sustainable Consumption and Production at the UK government advisory body, the Sustainable Development Commission, Senior Policy Advisor at the National Consumer Council and Co-Director of the Food Commission.
John Newman, Livestock representative
John Newman has been farm manager at Abbey Home Farm, Cirencester since 1992. A family partnership of 650 ha of award winning mixed organic farming comprising of dairy, sheep, pigs, poultry, beef, arable, grassland and vegetable enterprises, forage production is key across the enterprises and the farm grows alternative and diverse, leguminous leys. There is also an award winning farm shop and café and on farm processing of dairy and poultry products and a butchery. The farm was a founder member of The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Op Ltd and has been involved with a number of collaborative organic marketing initiatives. John is a director of Organic Arable, and was formerly the Chair of the Soil Association Agriculture Standards Committee.
Nicola Cannon, Arable representative
Nicola Cannon is Associate Professor of Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester. She leads the sustainable cropping research group and has a strong interest in crop establishment and weed control techniques. Nicola’s teaching at the RAU covers agronomy, agricultural systems and dissertation supervision. Nicola previously worked for the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) as a technical expert and technical assessor. Prior to this she sat on ACOS Certification Committee. Nicola is also the vice chair of the Soil Association Farmers and Growers Board.
Martin Soble, Horticulture representative
Martin Soble grows organic tree fruit, soft fruit and vegetables with his wife Rachel on 70 acres in south Herefordshire and has been a Soil Association licensee since 2004. Before establishing the farm, Martin had a career in consumer electronics. He has two teenage children, is a Parish Councillor and a magistrate. Martin was formerly the Chair of the Soil Association Horticulture Standards Committee.
William Young, Aquaculture representative
William Young has over 20 years’ experience in the Aquaculture sector in the production of Atlantic Salmon and Trout, having held a wide range of positions within the sector from hands on Farm Management to Production Management and Managing Director. William grew up within farming on the west coast of Scotland and continues to live in Argyll. William is currently the Business Support & Processing Director for Cooke Aquaculture Limited, a leading global producer of Seafood, and is responsible for heading up Technical, Business Support, Logistics and Processing Functions for Cooke’s’ UK business.
Louise Green, Health and Beauty representative
Louise Green is the Head of Organic at Neal’s Yard Remedies, and has spent over 20 years within the company taking a leading role in the development of the organic and ethical supply chain through previous roles as Head of Sustainability and in Product Development. Currently she focuses on the external ethical activities and independent accreditations of the brand. A passionate advocate of third-party certification to validate ethical claims, Louise has led the brand though a wide range of independent accreditations including fair trade, sustainable wild harvesting, GM-free, social responsibility, organic certification and CarbonNeutral.
Olivia Scholtz, Forestry representative
Olivia is Senior Project Manager with the High Conservation Value Resource Network. Prior to joining the HCV Network she spent many years managing landscape-level conservation projects in the tropics. Her projects focus on working with Standards to adopt and implement the HCV Approach. She was heavily involved in developing smallholder-adapted HCV procedures and biodiversity management tools for the Better Cotton Initiative. She is a Member of the Bonsucro Standard Revision Working Group. Other roles with the HCV Network include the development of tools and guidance for HCV Identification, Management and Monitoring, and ongoing support to quality assurance.
Simon Wright, Processing representative
Simon Wright is founder of Organic and Fair Plus (OF+) Consulting. Since 1986 Simon has specialised in the manufacturing, retailing, legislation and marketing of sustainable food, working with companies throughout Europe and in the USA. Clients range from local manufacturers of organic foods through to major UK retailers. He has a degree in Food Science & Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and a Member of the Guild of Food Writers. Simon is editor of The Handbook of Organic and Fairtrade Food Marketing and of The Handbook of Organic Food Processing and Production. He sits on the Board of the Fairtrade Foundation. Simon is also Chair of the Quality Food Awards judging panel, a member of the Food Matters Free From judging panel, a founding member of the Organic Trade Board and a member of Slow Food UK. Most recently Simon has been appointed to the pool of organic advisers to the European Commission and made a Member of the Academy of Chocolate.
Stephanie McIntosh, Textiles representative
Stephanie McIntosh founded and runs a luxury organic and Fairtrade linens company - Fou Furnishings ®. The company has been selling luxury organic cotton and wool bedding internationally since 2009; to homes, boutique hotels, ethical retailers, yachts and yoga retreats. Prior to setting up Fou, Stephanie had a career in retail fashion and furnishings; working in Buying and consultancy for major retail multiples. Increasingly aware of the lack of transparency within retail supply chains, on how our product choices link to the shared environment and the human story; she established a certified organic and Fairtrade sustainable supply chain and company.
Andrea Wildman, Lay member
Andrea is a Chartered Engineer and Environmentalist and is currently a Sustainability Manager in the construction industry. She is passionate about sustainable sourcing and a foodie. Andrea brings her experience of setting and following environmental standards in the construction industry as well as providing a consumer perspective to the standards board.
Catherine Jadav, Lay member
Catherine Jadav is a qualified nurse, having worked in a variety of settings and has long been interested in the influence of diet on human health and disease. She went on to study animal welfare and now works as a research officer at Compassion in World Farming. Catherine has always been passionate about the need to farm organically, recognising its fundamental benefits for the environment, wildlife and for human and animal health and wellbeing.
Stephanie Landymore, Lay member
Steph is currently a Responsible business practitioner at Sky, working across environmental management, reporting and responsible production. She’s a committed food-lover, always thinking about her next meal, and wants food that’s available to everyone to come from sustainable and regenerative farming that’s fair for farmers. She has previously campaigned to mobilise public support around political decisions on issues such as wildlife laws, food and farming, and protecting our most important places for nature.
To read our Standards Board Terms of Reference please click here.