Meet Our Speakers
Stanford School of Medicine
Christopher Gardner has a PhD in Nutrition Science and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford’s School of Medicine. He has been researching the health effects of a plant based diet and its components for 20 years, primarily with federal (NIH) funding. He serves on the American Heart Association’s Nutrition committee and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Culinary Institute of America. On the Stanford campus he has taken the lead in organizing Stanford Food Summit 1 in 2010, Stanford Food Summit 2 in 2011, and Stanford Food Summit 3 in 2012, which successfully connected faculty and students from across all seven of Stanford University’s undergraduate and professional schools, and connected these academics to community food activists and advocates.
Arlin Wasserman is a partner at Changing Tastes, founding this company in 2003. He is also a fellow at the Aspen Institute and a past recipient of a Food and Society Policy Fellowship, awarded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Arlin holds master’s degrees in Natural Resource Sciences and Public Health and has served as an advisor on agriculture, trade and development issues to both the US Department of Agriculture and the European Union Parliament. From 2007 until 2012, Arlin served as Vice President of Sustainability at Sodexo, the world’s leading institutional food service provider, leading it’s efforts to develop and implement its first sustainability strategy encompassing both environment and public health concern
Session One: Farming and Food Production
Marin Sun Farms
As the COO of Marin Sun Farms, Daniel Kramer manages and leads day-to-day operations of a growing, dynamic company that provides 100% grass fed and pasture raised meats to the San Francisco Bay Area - local food for a more sustainable future. Previously, Daniel worked at Swanton Berry Farm, Frog Hollow Farm, and Morris Grassfed Beef, and served as the Development Director at Roots of Change. In a previous life, Daniel worked as official staff for two Members of Congress, Rush Holt (NJ-12) and Anna Eshoo (CA-14), and has volunteered his time working on numerous local and congressional campaigns. Daniel lives in Oakland with one cat, three chickens, two wonderful children, and his wife Becky - who is saving the world in a very different way through her work with Stanford University's Natural Capital Project. Daniel holds a B.A. in history from Stanford University.
Jered has been linking communities with local farms since 1990. He initiated and coordinated Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs at the Homeless Garden Project and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). Jered also initiated and coordinated a statewide CSA advocacy, outreach, and educational program for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). In 1995, he organized a Western Region CSA conference that brought together over 450 farmers, consumers, educators, and agency representatives. Jered worked with Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley for three years (1999-2001) and again for CAFF until 2005 to launch their Farm-to-School programs, Food Policy Councils, and buy local campaigns. Jered co-founded Pie Ranch and helped start Pie Ranch’s youth education and new-farmer training programs in 2005. He leads the organization’s regional advocacy efforts, joins in farm operations, and works with the Board of Directors to raise the necessary support to fulfill the mission and infrastructure improvements of Pie Ranch.
Tony Serrano is the General Manager of ALBA Organics. He joined ALBA in September of 2008 with extensive experience in fruit, vegetable and custom livestock operations in California. He was born in Jalisco, Mexico and moved to the Watsonville, California at age three. He grew up on and around farming operations near Las Lomas (home to ALBA’s Triple Ranch) and managed 1500 acres near Castroville following high school, including ranch operations in Marin County. He worked as Marketing Assistant at ALBA Organics from 2004-2006, then worked full-time managing kobe beef production in Marin before returning as general manager in 2008. He is working in partnership with farmer-vendors to focus on quality and value in their production for ALBA Organics. Tony and his wife Claudia have three children and live in rural Las Lomas.
Gerjan is the co-Founder and CEO of, PlantLab, in the Netherlands. A horticultural engineer by training, Gertjan Meeuws has been working since1983 on improving crop performance by combining plant physiological knowledge with mathematical models. PlantLab has created a plant production unit in which plants grow in a carefully controlled climate under blue, red and farred LED-light instead of daylight. The modular units can be used anywhere in the world and can be adjusted to the local demands. This type of growth requires no pesticides and reduces water used by 90% over traditional systems. The ultimate goal of PlantLab is to get the most out of plants in order to contribute to a smarter world where everybody can have their daily food; tasteful, nutritious, anytime and anyplace.
Session Two: Cooking and Food Procurement
Laura Keller is the Manager of Strategy at LYFE Kitchen. LYFE, which stands for “Love Your Food Everyday”, is a lifestyle restaurant that combines natural ingredients with sustainable practices and delicious flavor profiles to fuel and satisfy. LYFE Kitchen aims to fulfill the need for great-tasting food that is convenient, affordable, and good for you. Laura manages the company’s growth plans and is working to build out LYFE Kitchen’s supply chain in new markets.
Prior to working at LYFE Kitchen, Laura worked in environmental consulting at California Environmental Associates, advising organizations on their sustainability strategies. She also served as Program Manager at the Chemical Strategies Partnership where she worked with organizations to reduce their chemical use, waste, risks, and cost.
Laura has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Economics and Environmental Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
Dara Olmsted Silverstein
Stanford University Residential & Dining Enterprises
Dara Olmsted Silverstein is R&DE’s Sustainable Food Program Manager. Her duties include educating students and the Stanford community on our sustainable food system; driving innovation in food systems through collaborative projects involving faculty research, and working with students.
Prior to joining Stanford, she managed Harvard’s Food Literacy Project and worked at Harvard’s Office for Sustainability. Dara has her Masters in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and a BA in Anthropology from Harvard University. Dara writes about food and sustainability for the Boston Globe’s Green Blog.
Novato Unified School District
Miguel Villarreal is the Director of Food and Nutritional Services (FANS) for the Novato Unified School District’s is transforming the landscape of the school food service program. He and his team have made FANS into the hub for creating nutrition and wellness environments in schools and in the community. Simply by connecting the 3 C’s - cafeteria, classroom and community - FANS is addressing a host of nutrition and wellness initiatives within the schools and in the broader Novato community by working closely with collaborative partners. One highlight of FANS is Miguel’s Farm to School gleaning program which has attracted both State and National attention for connecting families to locally grown food and to those farmers.
Chloe Chien & Anna Rakoczy
Chloe Chien is an MD and MBA from Stanford. While in school, she set out to find a sustainable solution to reverse and prevent obesity in this country. Through a GSB course "Startup Garage", she met Anna, applied design thinking, and walked many miles in obese and diabetic patients' shoes. Homemade was created as a result to enable truly sustainable lifestyle change in a real life community. Homemade is not a diet; it is a lifestyle. And it works! While she is deferring medical residency, she aspires to take the Homemade model nationwide and prevent millions of diabetes by empowering healthy eating for all. She believes that healthy eating should be the first line treatment for any lifestyle diseases, and she strives to change the face of medicine from sick-care to health-care.
Anna Rakoczy is the CEO of Homemade. She was Australian Young Lawyer of the Year in 2008, is a Fulbright Scholar, a John Monash Scholar and has Masters Degrees from Berkeley and Stanford. She is passionate about empowering others to adopt healthy eating habits after overcoming personal struggles with her eating as a competitive ice skater, competing in National Championships in Australia for 4 years. Anna has expertise in nutrition and whole food cooking arising from decades of personal study.
Session Three: Food Entrepreneurship
Former Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Graduate School of Business at Stanford University; Co-founder Nest Collective (now Plum Inc); Former CEO Clif Bar & Company. In 2007, Sheryl co-founded the Nest Collective (now called Plum, Inc), a next generation healthy food company with a focus on nourishing kids from the high chair to the lunch box through its brand. Plum’s mission is to support kids with good food so they develop a lifetime love of healthy eating. As CEO from 2007-2011, Sheryl led Plum to become an industry leader and game-changing company with national distribution. After growing to about $100MM in revenue in only four years, we successfully sold Plum in May 2013 which will enable Plum to get to even more kids.
Sheryl serves on multiple boards of directors including Gardein, a plant-based, meal company, Zukes, a natural pet treat company, and the American Sustainable Business Council, a non-profit working to build vibrant, just and sustainable economy through policy change.
Krysia Zajonc (Stanford University, Columbia Business School) is cofounder and CEO of Local Food Lab. Krysia has experience as a food entrepreneur and has worked internationally with farmers, producers and buyers of organic food. Previously she worked at Facebook and for Stanford University. Krysia's experience as a food entrepreneur in Central America showed her how disconnected people are from their food—what they eat, where it comes from and why it matters. She is passionate about helping food and farm entrepreneurs disrupt our conventional food system by reconnecting people to the origins of their food.
Off the Grid
Matt Coher is the Founder of Off the Grid. Credited with reviving and keeping street food alive in San Francisco, Matt Cohen is a cornerstone of the day-to-day elements of operation at Off the Grid. His role encapsulates everything from recruiting and approving new vendors, to dealing with the intricate process of acquiring permits and clearance for the growing number of weekly markets. At the heart of Off the Grid is a genuine love for the concept of bringing people together in a social urban environment and providing fledgling operations a jumping-off place for their endeavors. In a week, Off the Grid works with upwards of 200 small businesses, through its 24 weekly markets.
Since starting Off the Grid, Matt hasn’t limited his involvement in the burgeoning culinary scene to just trucks and carts – Matt has been a part of SF Food Lab, that offers a test kitchen space and dining area for entrepreneurs and small businesses to develop their products and cuisine. Matt has also developed a free point of sale app aimed at small businesses, Kaching! Despite being busy, Matt hasn’t lost his love for street food – you can usually find him at one of his markets most nights of the week.
Physic Ventures, LP
William is co-founder and Managing Partner at Physic Ventures, LP, the first venture capital firm dedicated to investing in keeping people healthy by providing capital and expertise to science and technology-based, health and sustainability companies. He has spent more than twenty-five years integrating the practices and perspectives of an entrepreneur, venture investor and educator.
As an entrepreneur, William has been involved as a founder and executive of more than a dozen early-stage ventures. He was founding CEO (and Minister of Progress) of The Republic of Tea, an award-winning specialty tea company that is credited with creating the premium tea category in the United States. He has been involved in growing the healthy food and nutrition field through his work as an entrepreneur and investor at Odwalla, Stonyfield Farms, Trinity Springs ad Brand New Brands, a functional food incubator he founded in 2003. From 1999-2008, William served on the faculty of the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley, where he taught the MBA courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Venture Development. He continues to serve as advisor to the Global Social Venture Competition and has been a visiting faculty member at London Business School.
Michiel Bakker is the consummate international Food & Beverage professional with over 22 years of global experience in food and beverage operations, creating and building out partnerships, hotel F&B development and openings, as well as general hotel and service operations.
As the Director of Global Food Services (based in Mountain View, CA) Bakker leads Google’s world-renowned Food program, supporting all food service related activities and initiatives for Google’s global community. Bakker’s focus areas include developing new insights and evidence in how food experiences can enable individuals and teams to be their best short and long term, and developing internal and external global partnerships to explore and tackle the challenges and opportunities in the broader food systems.
Prior to joining Google, Michiel spent 17 great years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in various roles. Most recently, he led Starwood’s Food and Beverage in Europe, Africa and the Middle East where he drove operations and guided growth and development. Prior to that, he co-lead Starwood’s F&B efforts in its North American Division and was for many years the F&B leader for Starwood’s New builds and transitions team.