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Peak industry body Australian Organic welcomes new Chair

AOL Chairman Mike Brown speaking at the Australian Organic Industry Awards on 25 November.

Australia’s peak industry body for the organic sector, Australian Organic Limited, has announced the appointment of highly regarded winemaker and business owner, Mike Brown as Board Chair.

With more than two decades in the wine industry, Mr Brown, with his wife Melissa, own Gemtree Wines, an award-winning certified organic winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia. In 2020, Mr Brown was appointed to the AOL board to provide expert advice on the major organic producing sectors of viticulture and winemaking.

Mr Brown said he was eager to share his extensive experience in marketing and exporting to continue to drive momentum for the more than two-billion-dollar organic industry, in his role as Chair.

“I am humbled to be appointed Chair and to have the opportunity to contribute to this great industry, and will continue to work to improve the governance, processes and successes of the Australian organic industry, both domestically and overseas,” Mr Brown said.

“I plan to harness the foundation that has already been established through the unwavering determination of industry, producers and retailers to take organic forward and grow its prevalence in the marketplace.

“To make this happen, consumers need to be able to trust their purchases are truly organic, which will only be achieved with domestic regulation. I, in conjunction with the AOL leadership team, will be strongly advocating to the government that a more robust framework be implemented.”

Mr Brown has replaced outgoing Chair Martin Meek, who served on the AOL Board since 2013 with the past four years as Chair. Mr Meek resigned as Chair to allow himself more time to expand his organic wholesale business, United Organics.

“Martin is to be commended for his commitment and extraordinary influence. He is a very passionate advocate and supporter of organic producers and industry,” he said.

“If I am to take one thing from his charter, it is the ambition to achieve recognition for organic as the number one choice for consumers who care about their health and wellbeing, as well as the environment.”

Mike Brown with AOL CEO Niki Ford and former Chairman Martin Meek.

AOL CEO Niki Ford said she was delighted to welcome Mr Brown to the role of Chair, as well as two new Board Members in fourth-generation farmer David Keens and Soulfresh founder Hsiao-Ti (Didi) Lo. She also thanked Mr Meek and outgoing Board Member Sonya Dowling.  

“We are delighted to welcome Mike to the role of Chair, and new board members Didi and David at such a prosperous time for the organic industry,” Ms Ford said.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank Martin Meek, who has been instrumental in leading the promotion and protection of AOL’s position on domestic regulation. I would also like to thank Sonya for her admirable work on the AOL Board.”

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Hannah Hardy
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