Meet Our Committee Members
Pam Brook Brookfarm
Pam Brook is co-founder of Brookfarm (1999), Australia’s leading producer of gourmet macadamia products. Pam is the convenor of Northern Rivers Foods and besides sharing a passion for the Northern Rivers Food Industry is a current member of the Australian Landcare Council and a past Director of the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board.
All nuts used in the Brookfarm range are sourced from local farms and our own macadamia plantation at St. Helena, overlooking beautiful Byron Bay in sub-tropical Northern New South Wales. The Brookfarm story is all about the creation of great tasting healthy food. Brookfarm’s award winning range includes Macadamia Mueslis, Walkabout Mixes, Premium Grade Natural and Infused Macadamia Oils and delicious Roasted Macadamia Nuts. Brookfarm was Telstra Business of the Year in 2007.
Michael Dlask Salumi
Formerly a restaurateur, Michael embarked on a journey of founding Salumi Australia (2010) with friend and business partner Massimo Scalas. Salumi Australia is a boutique smallgoods manufacturing business based in Billinudgel. As well as sharing a passion for the Northern Rivers Food industry, his ambition to manufacture an uncompromisingly high quality artisan product, handmade with no flavorings and unnecessary additives. The pork used comes from local farmers – Bangalow Sweet Pork – boasting 63% unsaturated fat, hormone and antibiotic free and Byron Bay Berkshire Pork.
Ray Fien Fien Sales & Marketing
Ray Fien has over 30 years sales, marketing and retail experience within the retail supermarket sector and Food Service sector across Australia. He has a track record for achieving budgets and coaching staff to deliver results... while making it fun! Ray has spent 7 years as the National Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Madura Tea Estates looking after advertising, sampling, merchandising and public relations, as well as being responsible for the food service side of the business. Ray is now a consultant to Madura Tea and is the Director of Fien Sales & Marketing and Northern Rivers Hampers. Ray participated as a Business Mentor in the 2011 NSW Business Mentoring Program conducted by the NSW Business Chamber in Ballina.
Juniper Wilkinson The Unexpected Guest
Martin Brook Brookfarm
Born in Devon, UK Martin Brook has a background in film, television and journalism and was one of the first Media Studies graduates from the PCL London, now the University of Westminster. At Brookfarm Martin is responsible for all National and International sales and Marketing and has built a comprehensive global distribution network. Martin is a member or the Australian Macadamia Societies marketing committee and an executive member of the Big Scrub Landcare Group. In 2007 Brookfarm were the State and National Winners of the Telstra business of the year. In 2010 Brookfarm won the NAB Best Rural Enterprise of the year award.
Jamie Cook Stone & Wood Brewery
After along career in the brewing industry Jamie left corporate life to fulfill his dream of setting up his own brewery. Jamie and his two business partners, who were also corporate refugees, founded Stone & Wood Brewing Company in Byron Bay in 2008.
Stone & Wood is a rapidly growing business that has quickly established itself within the national craft beer scene.
Jamie is also a director of Melbourne based Dig Marketing Group, a strategic communications business which specialises in the premium food and drinks segments.
Phil Coram Three Springs Farm
Phil and his partner Benita own Three Springs Farm, a certified organic property and wildlife refuge located at The Channon. The farm specialises in produce with medicinal applications including garlic, turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, horseradish and chillies. In addition, field trials have been undertaken for the NSW DPI to ascertain the therapeutic benefits of rare plants such as bitter melon and gac.
Originally a conventional cattle farm, the past four years have been devoted to improving the biological profile of the soil to achieve maximum quality of produce without using synthetic chemicals.
As well as previous management experience in the fields of education, sport and sponsorship, Phil spent 10 years running his catering and event management business, including a hands on role as a chef. Phil is dedicated to growing delicious, nutritional produce suited to the northern rivers climate and in promoting the region's identity as a food bowl.
Avard De Leeuw Interfarms Australia
Born in Holland, Avard gained wide knowledge and worked on farms from a young age. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural, specialising in Economics, Animal Husbandry and Nutrition. Avard immigrated to Australia in 1981 and gained extensive experience working as a independent agricultural consultant throughout Australia. Since 1996 he also started Interfams Australia which assists migrants with farm selection and purchase and manages several farm and farm syndicates around Australia. He has in depth knowledge of:
* Farm Management,Planning, Selection and Purchasing.
* Farm Budgeting, Finance, Economics and Systems
* Fertiliser Planning,Soil Health, Animal Health and Nutrition
Cath Ford C&C Ford Certified Organic Macadamia and Coffee
Cath Ford is a certified organic macadamia farmer from the hills of Byron Bay. Fifteen years ago she moved with her husband Chris to a Lychee and conventionally farmed macadamia plantation. Wanting to ‘go organic’ they converted the farm to a sustainable organic coffee and macadamia farm, with 8,000 macadamia trees and 12,000 coffee trees in production.
As her partner travels internationally as a financial consultant, Cath took on the fulltime management of the farm – throwing herself into learning about organics; integrated pest management; soil biology and natural pest control. The farm is now one of the biggest certified organic macadamia /coffee farms in Australia.
In 2006 Cath was runner up for the NSW governments ‘Rural Woman of the Year’ and offered a position in the government’s Ministerial Advisory Council specialising in Organics. She has maintained that role up to the recent change of government. Cath also was a Member of the Sustainability Advisory Council for Lismore Council and talks widely regarding the subject of applying organic principles to production horticulture.
Prior to moving to the North Coast Cath had a banking/senior recruitment background specialising in merchant/investment banking. In the last 15 years Cath has qualified in production horticulture; IPM; soil biology and several other courses.
Donna Harper ABC Radio, The Witch's Broomstick
Donna Harper has worked in Media and Film for 25 years. She got her degree at NIDA before landing a job with Triple J in ABC Sydney. She has worked for News and Current Affairs, Landline, Australian Story, and the Country Hour, as a presenter, reporter and researcher.
She has a Masters Degree in Media and Creative Writing and one day hopes to write a book, film or documentary.
Donna moved to the north coast with her family and purchased a farm in Murwillumbah. She grows a wide range of fresh produce, specialising in all varieties of Mushrooms.
She is actively involved in local farmers markets and food events. Donna has also completed a Chefs course at Kingscliff TAFE and is passionate about educating people about sustainable food practices and supporting the local agricultural industry.
Geraldine O'Flynn Subtropical Bananas
Geraldine is project manager for market development for Subtropical Bananas, a grower group encompassing a wide range of supply chain distribution networks. In 2011 Geraldine facilitated the writing of a strategic market development plan for Subtropical Bananas, and is now implementing the early stages of the plan.
Whilst having been a farmer for many years, Geraldine also has a background in media and public relations, as well as supply chain management. Her particular interest is in local food production and distribution networks, and maintaining viability for regional producers through innovation and best practices.
Murray Richardson Livestock Finance Co
Murray Richardson has spent his entire career in the food and beverage industry. Murray has worked for a number of Australian and International businesses and specialises in the sale and distribution of products. In the last few years Murray has become increasing involved in agricultural supply chains. Murray's is involved in food retailing, chilli sauces and the dairy and livestock markets.
Remy Tancred Sample magazine
Remy has worked in media for 15 years on well-known national and international magazines and newspapers and is skilled in Event and Television production. She now publishes her own monthly magazine, The Lennox Wave in her hometown of Lennox Head. Remy has just launched Sample a seasonal magazine showcasing the incredible range of food and produce that abounds in Northern NSW. Remy's magazine also explores the increasing emphasis on health and environment; in what we eat, how we grow it and how we sustain that production. Remy also has a published booked called Ate Phat Ducks.
Remy is passionate about local food and producers, and educating readers on making sustainable food choices. Her continual involvement in the Northern Rivers region has made her well known in business and community circles, with excellent contacts with local producers and experts in the field but also has a profound knowledge of community organisations and education facilities specialising in food production and distribution. Remy successfully organised a food and lifestyle festival called Sample: a taste of Northern NSW. This inaugural event had over 150 exhibitors, 10,000 attendees and is the only event of it's kind in Northern NSW.
Kerry Wilson Nimbin Valley Dairy
Kerry and his partner Paul, established Nimbin Valley Dairy in 2005. Kerry runs the dairy goat herd and the cow herd on their Nimbin farm, which enables NVD to produce high quality, and great tasting milk, cheeses, yogurts and ice creams. As well as the farm management Kerry is involved in the marketing and distribution of their range of products, through farmers markets, distributors and direct to retailers and restaurants. Kerry has a background in dairying, marketing and finance. He has also been involved with the local milk co-op Norco for 9 years as a director.
Lynne Zielke Australian Macadamias
Lynne Ziehlke is the Market Development Manager for the Australian macadamia industry and manages the domestic and international marketing strategy and program in consultation with growers, processors and product developers from the Northern Rivers and SE Queensland. She has a passion for quality food and especially loves working with the people that actually produce the food and those that create innovative food products. She has 20 years marketing experience working across most food sectors including fast moving consumer goods, foodservice and fresh produce.