A new term for the IFOAM PGS Committee!

The new term of the Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) Committee starts now! This group of technical experts will advise the IFOAM - Organics International on the development of norms, references and tools related to guarantee systems. The team, appointed by the World Board, will also assist the development of PGS and provide advice on how to develop, facilitate and encourage PGS around the world.

We take this opportunity to thank two exiting PGS Committee members, Chris May and Luiz Carlos Rebelatto dos Santos. 

Chris is an organic horticulturist and the managing director of Bioglobal Consultancy. Between 2001-2003, Bioglobal developed “Organic Farm New Zealand,” a PGS initiative with national scope in New Zealand and among the first PGS initiatives to be documented. Chris is still involved in OFNZ as a certification manager. He was appointed as a member of the PGS Committee in 2009, when the it was decided that this would be a permanent committee within our structures. Chris' long term contribution and active support to our work started even before that, as he served as a member of the International PGS Task Force, created after the first International Workshop on Alternative Certification, in 2004. He is the main author of our PGS guidelines and has acted as a trainer on behalf of IFOAM - Organics international in Africa, India, South-Asia and the Pacific. His strong engagement as an affiliate of IFOAM - Organics international and in particular his active commitment to PGS for the past 40 years have left a clear mark in the way we promote the full diversity of organic agriculture, in our publications and approaches. It has been an honour to count on your experience and dedication, we are very grateful!

Luiz is currently working as Technical Analyst at SEBRAE and serving as representative at the National Organic Agriculture Chamber in Brazil. Luiz is an Agronomist, Gastronomy Technologist and Specialist in Agroecology. He joined the PGS Committee in 2016 and generously contributed his experience in particular for the assessment of PGS initiatives that applied for our Official PGS Recognition program in the past 4 years, for the selection of abstracts and organisation of the pre-conference "30 Years of PGS Development: A Root and Branch Appraisal", organised by CIRAD, Nature et Progrés and IFOAM – Organics International in the framework of the 20th Organic World Congress. Having joined Rede Ecovida de Agroecologia as a founding member, he was also the network coordinator between 1998 and 2001, contributing to systematising this PGS initiative which remains as a crucial reference for the PGS movement as a whole. He also participated in the drafting of the legal framework for Organic Agriculture in Brazil, among the first ones to fully recognise PGS as verification system for organic agriculture. Thank you and all the best!

Members of the PGS Committee are appointed according to their practical experience with PGS, taking into account geographic, gender and professional balance. The recently revised Terms of Reference of the Committee, including detailed requirements, member responsibilities and procedures, can be found here.

The PGS Committee starts a three years' term with seven members that represent all geographical regions.



Read more about the new PGS Committee members below:

Audrey Wainwright is a PGS facilitator, mentor and trainer, originally at Bryanston Market PGS in Johannesburg and currently part of a team establishing the Oranjezicht City Farm Market PGS in Cape Town and supporting the Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Southern Africa with its PGS pilot project. Audrey serves on the South African Bureau of Standards technical committee for organic production and processing and is a member of the IFOAM-Organics International PGS Committee since 2015. 

Rowena Buena has been with Masipag for 21 years and has spent many years in the development and capacity building for PGS development, campaigning and lobbying for PGS recognition in the Philippines. She is now the Regional Coordinator for Masipag Luzon and member of the IFOAM PGS Committeee since 2018.

Vishala Padmanabhan has more than ten years of experience in the organic field. Executive Director of PGS Organic Council in India since 2019, she helped establish the PGSOC Secretariat and represented it at various Global Forums. She is involved in sustainable/local businesses, engaging rural women, and part of INOFO. Vishala is a newly elected member of the IFOAM – Organics International PGS Committee.

Sylvaine Lemeilleur is a research fellow at CIRAD (France). She is mainly interested in Participatory Guarantee Systems as a governance instrument for knowledge commons. She has been involved in the PGS Nature et Progres since 2013 and is a member of the PGS Committee since 2018.

Vanessa Ramírez has been working in the organic field for many years, and she is coordinating the activities  of Sociedad Cooperativa de Productores Tianguis Orgánico Chapingo PGS (Mexico). She is treasurer of IFOAM Latin America and newly elected member of the IFOAM – Organics International PGS Committee.

Alice Varon is Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown, a PGS serving producers throughout North America. She has guided CNG’s participatory approach to setting organizational policy and developing new standards for beekeeping and mushroom production. She is a member of the IFOAM-Organics International PGS Committee since 2009 and lives in New York.

Stephen Hazelman is an organic extension officer, founder of POETCom and with experience in PGS setting up and implementation. He is a newly elected member of the IFOAM – Organics International PGS Committee.

For more information on Participatory Guarantee Systems click here