At Open Food Network, we work to build better food systems. We were founded in Australia, but are now active in more than 15 countries around the world. Our board has overseen this significant growth, with oversight of both the global and the Australian organisation. The board does not have oversight of each individual country’s operations.
Helen Allard – Director
Helen is a lawyer and Director of Clearpoint Legal, a boutique law firm that provides innovative commercial advice and finds the best legal solutions to align with client strategy and values. Helen has a particular interest in issues facing companies developing, sourcing or providing IT products and services, and has worked with start-ups through to large corporate entities to advise on privacy, employment and intellectual property risks.
Helen holds Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees, and is soon to complete a Masters in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Melbourne.
Eli Court – Director
Eli is a skilled communicator, a builder of bridges and a person who loves to bring people together to work towards a common cause. He understands the reality and challenges of farming, and is deeply committed to soil and landscape restoration, and to seeing regional communities benefit from the opportunities that regenerative approaches to agriculture offer. Formerly the Engagement and Communications Manager at Soils for Life, and now the CEO, Eli has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector working on climate and sustainability research, policy and engagement. His former roles include Engagement Director at Farmers for Climate Action and System Lead (Food, Land and Oceans) at ClimateWorks Centre, as well as a range of roles in energy systems, community building, government policy development, advocacy and law.
Lara Douglas – Director
Lara Douglas has a background in financial services, working in financial accounting, risk management and compliance in large banks in the UK and Australia. She is currently a General Manager in the Banking Supervision division of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, a Commonwealth agency.
Lara is AICD qualified, holds an MBA from Edinburgh University, obtained ICAA qualified accountant status (inactive membership) and has a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Tasmania. Lara has also completed Executive management studies in Public Policy and Public Service leadership at Harvard University and the Australian and New Zealand School of Government delivered through Melbourne University.
Serenity Hill – Executive Director
Serenity is a co-founder of the Open Food Network. Serenity has extensive experience in policy development in government most recently in climate adaptation, and in delivery of large-scale projects for government clients. Serenity comes from long lines of farmers on both sides of her family. She is a regenerative farmer, passionate about developing solutions that deal with the multitude of barriers to expansion of ecological farming across the country.
Sarina Kilham – Director
Sarina Kilham is an academic focused on sustainable rural development and food systems innovation. Sarina spent 10 years living and working in Timor-Leste, primarily with the United Nations on rural agriculture, energy and water projects. Sarina holds a PhD in Sustainable Futures from the Institute of Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney- researching biofuels and smallholder farmers in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Sarina currently teaches at a major regional University in NSW, and teaches agricultural extension, rural sociology and food systems to >25% of Australian agricultural science graduates. Sarina likes roller-skating, cycling and hanging out with her family and two dogs.
Kirsten Larsen – Executive Director
Kirsten is the co-founder of the Open Food Network. Kirsten’s background includes roles with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. She has worked in the Victorian Government with the Department of Premier and Cabinet on climate change and food policy. Kirsten has built up strong networks across diverse food enterprises and organisations and she supports the growth and development of the sector.
Matt Shanks – Director
Matt uses 20 years of design, technology and product experience to enable socially responsible early-stage startups and fast-growing scale-ups minimise waste, grow, and make a positive difference. He’s worked at all levels of the private and public sector and helps the businesses he believes in use digital technology to improve the way we live and the impact on our planet – right now, this means focussing on Health, Climate Adaptation (Food, Energy, Water, Land), Human Rights, and Education. He’s an advocate for lean design, hypothesis-led product development, evidence-based decision making.
Jen Sheridan – Director
Jen is a creative and strategic director working to effect change through research, evaluation, communication, and on-the-ground implementation of new systems that address wicked food system problems. She has a background in academia and journalism, and a long history of community work in food systems. Jen has an excellent track record of communicating research for audiences including media and policy-makers, as evidenced by the reach and impact of her work. She has been a researcher for the Food Alliance at Deakin University, and both the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab and Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne. Jen is AICD-qualified, and holds a Master of Environment (with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communications), both from the University of Melbourne.
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Open Food Network respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the unceded lands on which we meet, work and live. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging and acknowledge their deep spiritual relationship to country.