Meet Our People
OUR FOUNDER AND PATRON – MAJOR GENERAL THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL JEFFERY
Born in Wiluna in Western Australia, General Jeffery’s distinguished military career included operational service in Malaya, Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam, where he was awarded the Military Cross and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He served as Governor of Western Australia from 1993 to 2000 and as Australia’s Governor General between 2003 and 2008.
However, it was his work as Australia’s National Soils Advocate that made him so well known and loved within our community. In that role, General Jeffery was pivotal in alerting Australians to the generally poor quality of our soils and working to encourage everyone to focus on their regeneration. General Jeffery founded Soils For Life in 2013. His vision – to encourage all Australians to focus on soil health and the urgent need to regenerate our rural landscapes – still underpins the work of Soils For Life.
His ability to connect with Australians across the country around his passion for agriculture and the healthy landscape it depends on was undiminished until the very end.
OUR CEO- DR LIZ CLARKE
Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Clarke is a passionate advocate for soil and landscape regeneration driven by a deep desire to bring about meaningful change for people, food production systems and landscapes. She combines a strong professional and personal commitment to regenerative agriculture with a lifetime of involvement in various aspects of sustainability, natural resource management and agriculture.
Liz has as worked as a practice-driven researcher, educator, policy advisor and mentor in the non-profit and private sector, across three levels of Australian government and with community and volunteer groups. She has led teams and organisations in Australia and internationally (including in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe). As well as being the CEO of Soils For Life, Liz currently holds visiting fellowships at ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University. She also holds a PhD in Human Ecology from ANU.
Meet Our Team
RICHARD THACKWAY – LANDSCAPE ECOLOGIST
Richard is a research scientist with over 30 years’ experience in classifying, assessing and reporting on Australia’s landscapes and natural resources. His research has been adopted by regional, state and national land use policy and planners and land managers. Richard is an honorary Adjunct Associate Professor at ANU and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer UNSW. A key research interest is in monitoring and reporting on the impacts that land management regimes have on indicators of environmental condition at property and regional levels over time.
REBECCA PALMER-BRODIE – SOCIAL SCIENTIST
Rebecca is passionate about bringing people together to achieve sustainable outcomes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) and a Masters of Environment and has a keen interest in participatory resource management. She loves working in the community environment sector and her roles have included Regional Landcare Facilitator with the ACT Government and project coordinator with the Conservation Council of the ACT Region.
JAMES DIACK – AGRICULTURAL SCIENTIST
James spent a decade as a community organiser before completing a degree in agriculture. His thesis investigated how Research and Development Corporations address the adoption of regenerative agriculture. Now living in Braidwood, NSW, James has a particular interest in the repair of degraded landscapes. He loves working with people, composting and soil science.
JEN RICHARDS – COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Jen Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts (UNSW) and a Masters of Sustainability from Sydney University. She has a strong interest in sustainable food systems. In the past, she has provided communications support for a number of premium food and agricultural organisations including the Australian Macadamia Society, Landcare Australia and Harvest Trails and Markets. She has also developed research tools to help understand complex attitudes to peri-urban agriculture in the Sydney basin. She continually advocates for change to make our food system healthy, sustainable, just and delicious.
KIRSTY YEATES – AGROECOLOGIST
Kirsty is an agroecologist inspired by the deep commitment that the regenerative community has towards enhancing the landscape, building strong, vibrant communities and producing healthy, nutritious food. At Soils For Life, she helps to share the innovations, experience and insights of land managers using regenerative approaches to support wider adoption. She brings the research community and other industry groups together with regenerative landscape managers to improve understanding of regenerative approaches and support continuing innovation in regenerative agriculture.
KATHARINE BROWN – SOIL SCIENTIST
Katharine is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) experienced in assessing, managing and rehabilitating the land resource. She has worked in government, industry, consultancy, and academia in the ACT, NSW, QLD and WA. Katharine believes that a basic knowledge of the soils in a landscape is fundamental to managing the land within its capability. She is also confident that land can be managed to be productive, profitable, and to improve soil condition. Katharine is curious about soils and considers a well-hosted conversation on the topic to be the next best thing to getting her hands dirty.
MARK PARSONS – APPLIED SCIENTIST
Mark came from a family farming background in New Zealand but turned to forestry at the start of his career. He has qualifications in forest science and environmental engineering and over 40 years experience in forest management, farm forestry, land use assessment and environmental research, as well as reporting in the public and private sectors. Since 2011 he has helped with Soils For Life’s case study program, assessing candidate agricultural properties and researching and writing the case study reports.
PARIS CAPELL- COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
Paris is a student at the Australian National University studying a Bachelor of Science. She is passionate about regenerative agriculture and soil health, with a strong interest in precision agriculture and GIS. She has had communications roles with the International Forestry Students Association and Intrepid Landcare, and has been involved in farm biodiversity surveys in NSW Central Tablelands where she grew up on a small farm. She combines her passion for science communication and agriculture at Soils For Life.
Meet Our Board
CHAIR: ALASDAIR MACLEOD
Alasdair is Executive Chairman of the Macdoch Group, a private investment office with presence in Sydney and London. In Australia, the Group’s interests comprise Macdoch Ventures, an early stage venture capital investor, Macdoch Agricultural Group, with interests in farming, Agricultural technology and Agricultural advisory businesses and The Macdoch Foundation, a charitable corporation which supports environmental and mental health initiatives.
MICHAEL MOORE AM
Michael is the CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia and is the President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. He is the chair of a number of health networks. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and visiting Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. Michael was formerly a teacher and consultant and served four terms as an elected member of the ACT Legislative Assembly, from 1989 to 2001. Michael was Australia’s first independent Minister of Health and Community Care. In 2017 he was honoured by being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN HARTLEY AO (RETD)
John graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1965 and served twice in South Vietnam where he commanded an infantry platoon and was the Senior Advisor to a South Vietnamese infantry battalion. He retired from the army in 2000, having headed Army’s Training Command, been Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation, Deputy Chief of Army and Head of Army’s Land Command. John joined Future Directions International (FDI) in 2009.
Charlie is a farmer from the southern Monaro, where he has been involved in running a grazing property, ‘Gunningrah’, for the past 35 years. After school, and before returning to his family property, Charlie graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics. He then worked for a futures broker at the Sydney Futures Exchange and as an advisor and trader in the wool and cattle futures markets. Since returning to Gunningrah, the scale, enterprise and management philosophy of the property has undergone a lot of change. The main driving force behind these changes is to sustainably manage part of our precious Australian landscape while coping with the vagaries of the farming environment.
Eve is an experienced Chairman, Non-Executive Director and business consultant. She qualified in law, and has 30 years’ experience in board and committee governance. She has deep experience in board strategy development, risk management, change management and human resources. Her breadth of industry experience includes financial services, professional services, education, health and retirement living development and operations. A key feature of her board career is governance of complex businesses. Eve is currently a director of the Zurich Australia Group, Australian Unity Office Property Fund, Seres Asset Management Limited (HK) and booking.com.
Justin grew up on an experimental vegetable farm, pursuing his interest in plant science at University of California, the Salk Institute and University of Chicago before moving to the world-leading Plant Science Division at Australian National University. With a focus on the genetic basis of adaptation in plant populations, including wheat and the iconic Eucalyptus, he contributes to agricultural productivity and landscape conservation. His work has developed next generation genetic analysis and plant growth facilities extending to landscape-scale field research with high-resolution monitoring and environmental sensing infrastructure. The work enables precision studies of (agro)ecosystem responses to changing management and climate. The ultimate goal is to work with farmers to ensure food security, safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems, and to draw down 1 Gigaton of Carbon Dioxide per year with regenerative farming systems across 100 million hectares.
Want to join the Soils For Life team? Visit our careers pages to find out how.