Strategic Advisory Board
Our Strategic Advisory Board consists of experts from science, business, campaigning, construction, economics and farming. They contribute their varied knowledge and perspectives on soils and soil health by providing strategic input and guidance into our activities with specific focus on the three workstreams and other key initiatives.
Dr Wei Yang
Dr Wei Yang is an internationally renowned town planner and urban designer who has a specific interest in sustainable development. She is an influential thought leader and a powerful advocate for climate actions, nature-based solutions, health & well-being, and social equality.
She is president of the Construction Industry Council, and advocates for the role that soils play in helping the industry achieve its environmental goals, and works to elevate this understanding. She is also a popular keynote speaker, an author, and a scholar.
Dr Bevis Watts
He has also been a leading challenger in efforts to change the banking system and direct money as a powerful force for good. He has been an active conservation volunteer throughout his adult life.
Dr. Elizabeth Stockdale
Elizabeth is a researcher and sharer of soils knowledge with growers. She is currently Head of Farming Systems Research at NIAB and leads the cross-sector levy-funded Soil Biology & Soil Health Partnership (AHDB/BBRO; 2017-2021). This Partnership is working with and for the agricultural industry to develop practical tools for soil health assessment and supporting information for farmers to use to develop site-specific soil management approaches.
She works to bring together her knowledge of reserach and the local knowledge of farmers to elevate undertstandings of ecosystems and their value.
Martin is a farmer and contractor in South Cambridgeshire, growing mainly arable crops on his family farm and rented land. He has a special interest in farm conservation management, currently running an ELS and HLS agreement and has Countryside Stewardship schemes on land he rents and manages.
Martin is the NFFN UK Steering Group Chair and hopes to see the network grow with like-minded farmers and land managers who will work together, sharing best practices and demonstrating what can be accomplished for nature and the environment while producing great produce.
Robin joined Nestlé UK in 1995 to lead the Customer Service Development team, helping set up and drive Nestlé UK’s supply chain collaboration programme with several key retailers.
From 2013 to 2022 Robin led the market-level implementation of Nestlé’s global commitment to engage all suppliers in its Responsible Sourcing Guidelines and approach. He has helped develop a 'Procurement for good' strategy as well as a full sustainability strategy for Nestlé UK’s milk and wheat sourcing. This approach is helping farmers to improve their environmental and social impact. Robin is particularly passionate about the 'S' in ESG and has recently taken up a new role as Community Regeneration Lead for Nestle UK.
As an award-winning author, strategist and campaigner working on farm policy, environment and food issues for 25 years, Vicki was previously Campaigns & Policy Director at War on Want, Head of the Friends of the Earth Food Programme, Sustain’s Policy Director and Director of the SAFE Alliance. She published her second book Rebugging the Planet in 2021.
With a background in entomology and pest management, as well as decades in driving policy change, Vicki brings both scientific and policy expertise to help elevate our work.
Dr Kevin Austin (Observer status)
Kevin leads the agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, ecology & geomorphology work of the Environment Agency to secure more resilient, diverse and valued wildlife and fisheries in order to bring greater benefits for people. He is the national Head of Profession, managing seven teams and the national budgets for these areas. He also acts as the Agency's lead on the DEFRA post-Brexit Future Farming Programme and the England Fisheries Group.
He was previously Assistant Director of the Agricultural Division and Head of Sustainable Management for the Welsh Government.
Sue runs an organic, permaculture livestock farm in Wales, and is also Director of the FFCC, an independent inquiry that aims to shape a future for food, farming and the countryside that is fairer, stands the test of time and aligns more closely with public expectations and values.
In light of the 25 YEP, her priority for achieving soil recovery is to involve farmers, businesses, citizens and communities in more thoughtful, informed conversations about choices that face us and the actions we urgently need to take.
Gareth joined the Soil Association after many years at the RSPB as Head of Agriculture Policy and External Affairs. Prior to this he served as Senior Agriculture Policy Officer for Natural England.
His background is in environmental policy and biochemistry, and his work at the Soil Association helps to recover the UK’s biodiversity the the transformation of food systems.
Andrew works with food and agriculture brands, financial institutions and governments to help them enjoy the benefits of the transition to regenerative agriculture at scale across the value chain and build a market that values these practices, as part of Soil Capital.
Andrew brings his experience of the superior economics of practices that improve soil health, and how to make those benefits accessible to brands, financiers and governments, into the SSA's work.
John founded the annual Groundswell show which began with 700 attendees and has grown hugely in the years since. He is a passionate practitioner and supporter of no-till from his home farm base of 2500 acres in Hertfordshire.
He aims to establish an agronomy label to educate and train farmers in regenerative farming to facilitate a move away from intensive agriculture & the industrial food system.
Stephen has provided farm business consultancy in the UK and internationally for over 20 years, and has actively influenced agricultural policy at UK / EU levels. He has a masters in Soil Science, was a 2011 Nuffield Farming Scholar and was Founding Director of the Institute of Organic Training & Advice.
Stephen’s combination of scientific rigour and practical farming experience helps direct the SSA to facilitate and deliver an improved understanding of practical soil management options.
Julius works within the Shropshire Group (G’s) as a Group Product Director, and as an evangelist for Regenerative Agriculture in general and within the wider G’s group specifically.
Through his work, he has seen the benefits in soil conditions and crop performance achieved by harvesting the low hanging fruit in reducing disturbance, cover cropping, and optimizing broad spectrum nutrition. He is building an understanding of how the regen biological engine works and the new metabolic efficiency opportunities that he needs to reach.
Alex works for The River Trust where he is leading on the development of a new Water Stewardship service, which aims to help business work collaboratively to deliver sustainable solutions for water at a catchment level.
Alex is a member of the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) national support group, the CISL Catchment Declaration advisory group, an Alliance for Water Stewardship expert practitioner and member of the BSI technical committee for water management.
With a background in agriculture and forestry, Charlotte has been a commercial-scale organic farmer for more than thirty years. She was Head of Learning at Eden, with experience and background in environmental education, agriculture and food policy, and continues to work with them as an associate
The Eden Project is passionate about soil and its crucial role in maintaining life on the planet. Through their work on climate change and connection and communication with global audiences, the organisation hopes to tell the stories, actively support and give voice to the vital work of the SSA.