The movement to bring meaningful and scalable changes to our food system is afoot. Below are interviews with entrepreneurs, policymakers, journalists, and other innovators enacting change across a wide spectrum of food-related issues:
Deema Tamimi is the CEO of Giving Garden, a community gardening app that connects novice and expert gardeners alike to share advice, exchange produce, and build community around local food. The app is set to launch in beta June 2017 and will go live in Davis, CA, this summer. The pilot will focus on users in Davis and then will eventually expand to other cities and regions.
Cindy Frei and her son Caleb are the founders of Caleb’s Cooking Company, a food startup dedicated to helping children with pediatric autoimmune illnesses and digestive related problems lead happier, healthier lives. The company sells foods that kids love to eat like pizza, chicken nuggets, enchiladas and more, but that are gluten, sugar, grain, dairy and preservative free.
The Food Policy Networks (FPN) project is dedicated to supporting the development of effective state and local food policy. It is part of The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), an interdisciplinary academic center based at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. FPN aims to build the capacity of local, state, regional, and tribal food systems councils, national organizations, and other groups interested in improving the food system.
Birgit Cameron is the Senior Director of Patagonia Provisions, a food startup launched by the eponymous outdoor apparel company in 2013. Patagonia Provisions is also endowed with an ambitious mission to create high quality products while finding solutions to the environmental crisis. In this case, it is specifically focused on repairing a broken food chain.
Matilda Ho is founder and Managing Director of Bits x Bites, a food accelerator and venture fund based in Shanghai, China. Ms. Ho herself is a serial food entrepreneur, having launched Yimishiji, an online farmers market in China. Prior to that, she worked as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and IDEO in Shanghai and Washington, DC. Ms. Ho received her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Audrey Rowe is the Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). FNS provides children and needy families with better access to food and a more healthful diet through its 15 nutrition assistance programs and nutrition education efforts, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.
Greg Shewmaker is founding partner of Food+Future coLAB and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Target. Food + Future coLAB, based in Boston, is a collaboration between Target, MIT Media Lab and design firm IDEO. The coLab’s goals are to explore new technologies and create new ventures to tackle major food-related challenges.
Doug Rauch is founder and CEO of Daily Table, a nonprofit grocery that provides affordable and healthy food for low-income families while also reducing food waste. As the nation’s first nonprofit grocery, Daily Table accepts food donations and discounted food supplies from farmers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and food distributors, and then sells those foods at cost (or at a slight markup), making them affordable to more people.
Alexa Delwiche is the Executive Director of the Center for Good Food Purchasing (CGFP). She previously served as Managing Director of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, overseeing overall operations of the organization from 2011 – 2015. At the LA Food Policy Council, she spearheaded the development, launch and implementation of the Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFFP).
Holly Freishtat is Baltimore City’s first Food Policy Director. In this role, she created the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative (BFPI), an inter-governmental collaboration that aims to increase access to healthy affordable food in food deserts in Baltimore City. She is a key advocate at the city, state, and federal level for policies to enhance availability of healthy affordable food in Baltimore’s food deserts. Holly has spent over a decade working on food issues in a variety of contexts, experiences that have provided her with an understanding of the food system from the perspectives of a nutritionist, an educator, and a farmer.
Daniel Giusti, 32, is founder and CEO of Brigaid, a startup foodservice company that wants to transform the way schools serve food. Brigaid partners with local schools and communities to put highly trained chefs into school kitchens alongside existing staff.
Leora Barish is the founder and executive director of Heroic Food, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing and training US military veterans for careers in sustainable farming and food entrepreneurship. Heroic Food’s vision is to improve the health and wellbeing of US military veterans while also helping the nation address its urgent need for new farmers and growing demand for local, sustainably grown food. Heroic Food is located on a 20-acre farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley.
Ivy Ken is Associate Professor of Sociology at George Washington University where she teaches courses on inequality, theory, and school food policy. Prof. Ken’s scholarship has focused on the ways food companies maneuver to maintain dominance in the supply of food for school meals.
Whitney Pipkin is a freelance journalist covering food, farms and the environment in and around Washington, D.C. She lives in Springfield, Va., with her husband, almost 2-year-old baby girl and a fence-jumping mutt. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, NPR, NationalGeographic.com, Smithsonian Magazine, Civil Eats, Washington City Paper, Virginia Living, Northern Virginia Magazine, Arlington Magazine, Foodshed Magazine, Grist.org, The Delmarva Farmer and others.
Leah Douglas is a reporter and analyst with the Open Markets Program at New America, where she researches power consolidation and monopolization in the food and agriculture industry. She is editor of the think tank’s Food & Power website (launched in May 2016), a new resource on monopoly power in the food system for food policy experts, advocates, farmers, policymakers, and eaters.
Zachari Curtis, Urban Farmer (10/14/15)
Zachari Curtis is an entrepreneur, social justice activist, farmer, and a beekeeper. During weekdays, you can find Curtis at Bread for the City, serving as the organization’s Sustainable Agriculture & Community Engagement Manager. On the weekends, or any other time really, Curtis is likely operating as founder and CEO of Good Sense Farm, a D.C. urban farm that produces gourmet mushrooms and honey and beehive products.