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Until 2014 Graham Clarke was a sheep and beef farmer for over 30 years in South Otago at Marama Farm, which was certified organic by BioGro for close to 10 years.
“I’m passionate about sustainable food production and see organic food as being essential to getting better quality nutrition to New Zealanders,” says Clarke.
He was elected at the association’s recent annual general meeting; Clarke, who was first elected onto the national council of Soil & Health in July 2016, brings experience and enthusiasm for organics to the council table. He has had governance experience with Federated Farmers, the Beef Council and the Animal Health Board.
“I have now chosen to serve Soil & Health in the hope that this can mean more farmers can be supported to grow great nutrition for New Zealanders, and more people can achieve good health through their food. Organics needs to go mainstream,” says Clarke.
Having experienced huge health improvements himself through eating well, Clarke is now a certified Integrative Nutrition health coach and helps people improve their health and their lives through what they eat and other lifestyle choices. In his spare time, he leads a team of caregivers who look after a young man with disabilities caused by a car accident, with nutrition one of the key planks in his greatly improved health.
Clarke paid tribute to outgoing chair Marion Thomson: “Marion has dedicated a huge amount of energy to Soil & Health for many years, particularly championing the rights of communities to control or ban GE in their areas, via several court cases. The Association is lucky to have her stay on as a member of the National Council and continue our important work,” says Clarke.
“Times are changing locally and globally and the weight of evidence concerning the challenges of many of the current farming methods and the consequences of some of them continues to grow. This is both a health and environmental concern.”