Summer 2018

Building a Brighter Food Future

As the Friedman School creates a hub of entrepreneurship, meet the students, faculty, and advisers working to transform the global food system through business thinking.

By Monica Jimenez and Molly McDonough

Welcome to the future of food: A mother looking for a heathier snack for kids builds an all-natural popsicle empire; a recent graduate sitting in a rideshare envisions the access economy tailored to culinary start-ups; a pharmaceutical executive takes a chance on the fermented tea brewing in her closet. Instead of trying to revamp the food system from the top down, entrepreneurs are building innovative solutions from the ground up.

Smart ideas are bubbling up everywhere, as Danielle Nierenberg, N01, learned in her work with an environmental organization before founding the think tank Food Tank. “I was seeing on-the-ground innovative solutions—in kitchens, in board rooms, in town halls, in fields—that could be scaled up and out,” she said.

Illustration: Sam Falconer

Why the boom in food innovation now? “The interest in food is high because we’ve collectively backed ourselves into a food-supply corner that values high-volume and low-cost over nutrition,” said Rachel Cheatham, N05, NG08, whose company Foodscape helps businesses develop healthier products. With a growing awareness that our environment and our health are suffering the consequences, we need to make a change. Food entrepreneurship is about making it. That means opportunity aplenty for passionate graduates with food-related degrees, and for professionals longing to reorient their skillsets.

By creating a new hub for entrepreneurship, the Friedman School is leading the way. In the stories below, we follow excited entrants in the school’s first start-up competition, offer advice from entrepreneurship experts, and profile alumni who have founded businesses that are changing the way we eat:

• The Art of the Business Pitch
• Entrepreneurship in Action

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