The Food Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute grew today with its third cohort of 19 new fellows. Among them is the first Food Equity Policy Lead for the Chicago mayoral office; an ocean activist who helped start a sustainable craft seafood cannery, and the founder of an organization that is bridging the gap between Black farmers and the marketplace. These are just a few of the civic, business, and nonprofit leaders who are all dedicated to changing the food system to eradicate food and nutritional insecurity, support food entrepreneurs and farmers, and push forward sustainable solutions.

Every new cohort is exciting,” says Corby Kummer, executive director of Food & Society at the Aspen Institute. “But this one is especially exciting. We recruited from an unprecedented number and range of applicants with an eye not only to how our 19 new fellows will make food systems change together but also how they could work with members of the larger Food Leaders Fellowship community. We can’t wait for these fellows to meet one another and our current and previous fellows, part of our plans! Now we can build in 3D—especially apt for a third cohort.”

Launched with an inaugural cohort in 2022, the Food Leaders Fellowship draws on the Aspen Institute’s leadership programs to support and challenge each other to think bigger, increase their individual and group capacity for change, and find new collaborators to work with toward lasting impact. 

Over the course of 18 months, fellows will take part in the Aspen Institute’s unique programming. They will step back from their day-to-day work to examine their beliefs and personal missions and work to identify and hone their ability to make significant change. At their first seminar on the Aspen Institute’s Colorado campus, a space designed for contemplation, fellows will establish the trust and understanding that form lifelong bonds and fertile ground for collaboration—the hallmarks of all Institute fellowships.

At and following their first meeting, fellows will identify individual action plans building on the work they are currently doing and the work they most want to start. Along with support, camaraderie, and critiques from their new Food Leaders collaborators, fellows will receive mentoring from established food expert leaders who have paved the way forward in sustainability, innovation, policy, human and worker rights, and regenerative agriculture. Fellows will stay deeply connected at regular virtual meetings and two more in-person gatherings during the fellowship. The previous cohorts will be called on to mentor and support this new class with the goal of holding a multi-cohort seminar in 2025. 

Food & Society at the Aspen Institute launched the Food Leaders Fellowship with support from Seth Goldman and Julie Farkas, Food at Google, the JIB Fund, Andy and Zelie Pforzheimer, Melony and Adam J. Lewis, and Gary and Meg Hirshberg.

The members of the 2024 cohort of Food Leaders Fellows are: 

Lindsey Allen, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Food & Supply Chain, Disney Experiences

Caesaré Assad, Vice President of Impact, Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders

Adam Bent, Entrepreneur & Ocean Activist, SCOUT

Rebecca Chesney, Director of Sustainability Innovation, ISS Guckenheimer

Patrick Delaney, Director, Federal Government Affairs, Walmart

Seanicaa Edwards Herron, Founder & Executive Director, Freedman Heirs Foundation, Inc

Ruby Ferguson, Senior Director of Strategic Relationships and Community Planning, Greater 

Chicago Food Depository & Food Equity Policy Lead, City of Chicago Mayor’s Office 

Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Government Relations Director, National Young Farmers Coalition

Jaime Hansen, Executive Director, Swipe Out Hunger

Kendra Levine, US Sustainability Lead, McDonalds 

Jake Lynch, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Fig

Anne McBride, Vice President of Programs, James Beard Foundation

Calib Miller, Director of Partner Services, Feeding South Florida 

Krystal Register, Vice President, Health & Well-being, FMI – The Food Industry Association

Tariq Sheriff, Business Development & Strategy Manager, Government of the District of 

Columbia

Josh Trautwein, CEO, About Fresh

Cami Vega, Senior Manager, Global Talent and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programs, CP Kelco

Hunt Walne, AgriIntelligence Agronomist, Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC

Ronnie Webb, Executive Director, The Green Scheme

Visit the Food Leaders Fellowship website to learn more about our new fellows. You can also join the Food Leaders Fellows community by supporting a fellow as an active mentor or applying for the next cohort! Stay up to date on the next application cycle and other Food & Society news and activities here.

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ABOUT THE FOOD LEADERS FELLOWSHIP

The Food Leaders Fellowship was created in 2022 to unite the most promising early-stage food leaders to ignite personal transformation, cross-sector collaboration, and scalable change. Drawing on the Aspen Institute’s history of successful leadership and policy fellowships, the Food Leaders Fellowship is becoming the foremost community of emerging leaders who will work towards sustainability, food justice, and good health. For more information, visit https://aspenfood.org/food-leaders-fellowship/

ABOUT FOOD & SOCIETY AT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE

Food & Society at the Aspen Institute brings together leaders and decision-makers in the food and beverage industry and the public health community—scientists, nutritionists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food makers of all kinds—to find solutions to production, health, and communications challenges in the food system. The program’s goal is for people of all income levels to eat better and more healthful diets—and to enjoy them bite by bite. For more information, visit aspenfood.org or follow us on X, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

ABOUT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.