Our people

Meet Our People

OUR FOUNDER AND PATRON – THE HON MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY

Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC (Retd) hails from Wiluna, Western Australia. His distinguished military career includes 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.

In October 2013, he was appointed as Australia’s National Advocate for Soil Health. In that role, Michael has been pivotal in alerting Australians to the generally poor quality of our soils. His vision – to encourage all Australians to focus on soil health and the urgent need to regenerate our urban and rural landscapes – underpins the work of Soils For Life. Currently, he is Chairman of Future Directions International.


Meet Our Team

NARELLE LUFF – OPERATIONS MANAGER

Narelle is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and worked in the health care industry for 15 years. Narelle’s work in health care spanned clinical work with patients in hospital and community settings, professional education and training. Narelle has also worked in healthcare management and holds a Master of Health Industry Management. Narelle grew up in country Victoria, in Gippsland, and has maintained a continuing interest in agriculture and rural life. Narelle has a passion for gardening particularly food production and continues to expand her skills using a variety of techniques that foster soil health.

RICHARD THACKWAY – LANDSCAPE ECOLOGIST

Richard is a research scientist with over 35 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 Associate Professor at ANU and an honorary visiting lecturer at UNSW ADFA. 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.

GREG HOSKING – ECOLOGIST

Greg Hosking graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor degree in Forest Science. He has previously worked on wildlife research programs for the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and a Professor from The Australian National University. He is from a cattle and sheep farming background and enjoys returning to the family farm as often as possible.

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.

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.

JEN RICHARDS – MEDIA & 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 completely delicious.

MATT BOLTON – ECOLOGIST

Matt is an ecologist with a strong interest in Australia’s natural and managed lands. He studied heathland ecology for his PhD. He was a pioneer of computer-assisted, systematic conservation planning and worked on weed ecology and control in the northern half of Queensland. He helped to assemble and analyse thematic datasets for regional land use planning – particularly for Cape York Peninsula and Australia’s forests. He managed the National Vegetation System (NVIS) for over a decade. Apart from encouraging better land management, Matt likes to tour and photograph the Australian bush.

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.


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).

JULIAN CRIBB

Julian is an Australian author and science communicator. He is principal of Julian Cribb & Associates who provide specialist consultancy in the communication of science, agriculture, food, mining, energy and the environment. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE) and a member of the ANU Emeritus Faculty. His career includes appointments as newspaper editor, scientific editor for The Australian newspaper, director of national awareness for CSIRO, member of numerous scientific boards and advisory panels, and president of national professional bodies for agricultural journalism and science communication. His published work includes over 9000 articles, 3000 science media releases and eight books. He has received 32 awards for journalism.

CHARLIE MASLIN

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 Batchelor 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 CRESTANI

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.

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.

JUSTIN BOREVITZ

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 Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide per year with regenerative farming systems across 100 million hectares.