Heading into a new committee year, we are delighted to welcome our two new executives into the fold. Gaz Ingram and Sam Hogg are ODPG members who put their hands up at our AGM on March 21st. They replace Peter Bacchus, who has been with the ODPG since its conception, and Christina Berneheim, who recently relocated to Sweden. Though both Peter and Christina will be missed on the committee, we are all looking forward to working with Gaz and Sam as we grow and support New Zealand’s Organic, Regenerative and Biological Farming community.
Here is a short introduction to them both:
Gaz grew up in Tikokino, Central Hawkes Bay on a sheep, beef and cropping farm.
Following high school, Gaz spent 16 years growing conventional and organic pipfruit in Hawkes Bay. He’s been working with Farmlands since 2012 and is part of the recently formed Farmlands Growth & Innovation team.
Gaz’s role as Head of Future Land & Food will be taking part in the organic, bio-rational – and more recently regenerative agriculture – conversations that are happening throughout NZ and with global partners.
Gaz works with the wider Farmlands Field and Retail teams, providing advice, support and knowledge in the areas mentioned above, across a wide range of agricultural and horticultural systems. Part of his role is to organise and overview the Farmlands organic product range and manage their Biogro certification.
In 2014, Gaz joined the BioGro NZ board as a Director, a position he still holds today.
Sam is a sixth-generation farmer who returned to his family farm in the Manawatu after first training in law and realising, during that time, his passion for improving the planet.
He dedicated himself to making a difference. His family were ahead of their time, growing certified organic vegetables for veggie boxes back in the 90’s. Sam got involved again when his family decided to make the move towards becoming an organic dairy farm in 2016.
After a challenging start, Sam took over when his brother decided to step down from managing the dairy farm. He gritted his teeth, plunged into a whole new challenge with minimal knowledge, and learnt very quickly. The hard work paid off, with the farm becoming NOP organic in 2020.
Sam says: “I’ve realised through the whole thing that farming is really the cornerstone of civilisation. How we manage our soils, be it good or bad, has huge flow on effects to many aspects of society. I see in farming now an incredible vehicle for so much societal and environmental good. And I think more and more people are starting to see this too, transforming our society and world literally from the ground up.”
THE REST OF THE COMMITTEE
Janette Perrett (Chair)
Janette has been an advocate for organic and biodynamic principles since embarking on organic certification in 2006. Though, because of dairy farm leasing, the family have had to abandon certification, they have continued using organic principles and now farm just north of Whangarei. A founding member of Te Tai Tokerau Climate Change Group, Janette is passionate about working with Mother Nature.
Rachel Short (Treasurer)
Rachel Short was born and bred in Coastal Taranaki. Together with her husband Kenneth they farm two Dairy Farms in an Equity Partnership with Rachel’s parents. Six years ago, Rachel and Kenneth decided to go a step further with their farm system and convert to organic.
Rachel has loved the journey to become certified organic, fostering good connections nationally to the wider Dairy Industry. Outside of farming, much of Rachel’s time is spent enjoying outdoor activities and sports with her two sons.
Fiona Ellmers (Secretary)
Fiona combines running a small biological beef-breeding farm with research into disease aetiology and prevention, along with some on farm vet work. Her history as a vet for over 30 years has nurtured a passion for promoting health in animals by creating a healthy environment, removing toxicities, and correcting nutritional deficiencies . She would like to see New Zealand farmers concentrate on raising healthier, more productive grazing animals.
Steve’s farm was first purchased by his great great grandfather in 1909, and he is the fourth generation to work the land. It is now a dairy farm milking 320 cows west of Huntly in the North Waikato. Steve first embraced biological soil management in 2006 and has been improving his farm with regenerative methods ever since, planting and establishing mixed pastures and reaping the benefits. He has studied as a Holistic Management Institute Educator, with mentor John King.
Callum runs his family’s 280ha drystock farm near Tahuna in the Waikato, providing contract grazing for organic dairy farmers. Motivated by an interest in sustainable agriculture and food systems, Callum returned home to his family farm in 2016 and began converting the property to organic certification.
JOINING THE ODPG
Need farming help and advice? Let us provide you with the network and tools to make your business successful and your life easier. ODPG Memberships are open to anyone with an interest in organic, regenerative or biological farming. Click HERE for six good reasons why you should join us!