Meet the Berries Australia team

Here is the team of talented individuals who have been brought together to deliver the Industry Development and Communications project for the berry industries in Australia as a service delivery partner to Hort Innovation.


1300 201 713   |    PO Box 578,  Archerfield, Qld 4108


Suzette Argent – Qld


Melinda Simpson – NSW


Berries Australia Export Manager


Angela Atkinson – Vic & SA


Angela Atkinson – Vic & SA


Helen Newman & Aileen Reid – IDO Team WA


Mark Salter – Tasmania

Berries Australia Project, Export, Communication & Support Team

<center>Rachel Mackenzie</center>

Rachel Mackenzie

Executive Director

Rachel Mackenzie was awarded the Women in Horticulture Award at the 2018 Horticulture Connections conference in recognition of her contribution to the sector and we are pleased that she will be able to apply her skills to the berry category.

Rachel was instrumental in establishing Growcom’s Fair Farms Initiative to improve workplace standards across Australian horticulture, has instigated and managed several key projects aimed at implementing Best Management Practices with respect to water quality and has been a strong voice for growers in relation to competition policy.

Rachel has shown herself to be a passionate supporter of growers through her sustained advocacy, including her tireless support for the strawberry industry during its challenges in the 2018 winter season.

<center>Jen Rowling</center>

Jen Rowling

Projects Manager

Originally from Cairns, Jen started her career in the non-profit sector with Care Australia in Cambodia for 18 months. It was an eye-opening experience to understand how other cultures and countries tackle daily life.

Returning to Queensland with a new appreciation for the privileged lives we lead in Australia, Jen continued her career with another incredibly worthwhile cause - the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. She spent fifteen years working for a range of cause-related organisations doing her bit to make the world a much better place.

After a two year break to start a family, Jen & her partner made a move to the Sunshine Coast where she discovered the joys of horticulture as the Industry Development Officer for Queensland Strawberries.

Jen was the face of the 2018 industry crisis and has gone on to work in the aftermath, with Strawberries Australia, to make the industry stronger and more resilient.

As the Projects Manager for Berries Australia, Jen now has the ability to make an impact nationally across all the berry industries.

<center>Jenny Van de Meeberg</center>

Jenny Van de Meeberg

Export Manager

Jenny Van de Meeberg is the Principal Consultant at VDM Partners, an independent consultancy based in Canberra providing international trade services in the field of market access, market entry and market development for industry.

Jenny has extensive experience in the field of international trade having spent over 10 years in senior roles with Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ), Austrade and more recently Hort Innovation.

<center>Jane Richter</center>

Jane Richter

Communications Manager

Jane is an independent consultant working in the horticulture industry. After a long professional career in FMCG marketing both here and in the UK, Jane and her husband made a tree change and became passionfruit farmers in 2014.

Within a few short years, she found herself leading the competitive pitch for the industry communication project on behalf of her fellow growers and she has been heavily involved in horticulture ever since, both as a communicator and a marketing consultant.

As a grower herself, Jane is passionate about ensuring that the statutory levy money invested by Hort Innovation on behalf of industries achieves the best possible outcomes and delivers real value for money.

<center>Wendy Morris</center>

Wendy Morris

Administration & Membership Officer

Wendy has joined Berries Australia as the new Membership and Administration Officer. Wendy has a strong background in Associations, in both paid and volunteer capacities, and several years’ experience as a cricket wicket curator.

She is passionate about streamlining processes and achieving optimal outcomes – in every field and role.

<center>John Hay</center>

John Hay

Recovery & Resilience Officer

Originally a qualified distribution electrician and having worked on some of Australia’s largest gas, mining, and renewable energy sites, John also holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and works in regenerative and conventional farming practices.

John was recently involved with the Queensland Farmers Federation Energy Efficiency and Digital IoT Smart Farm projects writing numerous technical case studies, news stories and more on all Ag industries. He was regularly involved in high level discussions on topics such as the Land Restoration Fund, Microgrids, Purchase Power Agreements (PPA), Hydrogen, water, Carbon Farming methodologies, writing many in-depth stories on these topics. He has experience in Macadamia production focusing on soil health, and pest and disease monitoring.

John joined the Berries Australia team in November2022 as Industry Recovery & Resilience Officer delivering the project ‘Hort360 for a sustainable and resilient berry industry’ which is designed to support the resilience of the berry sector. Many growers have already accessed the special disaster assistance primary producer grants to recover their properties from the damage experience from the 2021 floods. However, with the NSW Government climate sector predicting an increasing likelihood of extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and storm surges near the NSW coast it is important for the berry industry to be better prepared for future events.