presented by

Food Funded 2020

Oct 6&7

"a demanding yet fulfilling inspiration in what's possible"

Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion



Climate Change regenerative

FOOD FUNDED 2020, October 6

Building Capital and Capacity in Chaotic Times

How to meet customers and entrepreneurs where they are and disrupt our financial system?
10:00 am
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

Your food has a JEDI story. How to tell it?

Shine a Light on Underserved Markets and Food with Heritage
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

How to Embed JEDI Culture in Your Company?

Hiring, Promotions, Decisons, Power: Dealing with Unconscious Bias and Soft Barriers
12:10 pm
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

Why Investing in Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion is Crucial

How Enterprises and Investors Can Move Capital in a more Equitable Way
1:40 pm
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

Entrepreneur Showcase: Food with JEDI Impact

10th Annual Food Investor Fair
2:40 pm
Stage (followed by Q&A in Expo)

Marketplace of Opportunities

Networking and Connections: meet the 2020 Finalists and Partners, exchange information, arrange follow-ups

FOOD FUNDED 2020, October 7

Reality Check 2020: (Re)Building Resilient and Just Food Systems

Coming out at the Other End of the Crisis: How to Reshuffle the Cards for Regenerative and Just Solutions?
10:00 am
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

Your food has a climate story. How to tell it?

Customers care. Now, how to connect the dots to your products and what behind them?
11:10 am
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

Regenerative Models from Soil to Shelf

Ag & Climate Solutions throughout the Supply Network
12:10 pm
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

The Investment/financial Case for Climate-aware Food and Ag

What are the Real Returns that Matter?
1:40 pm
Stage (followed by Q&A in Sessions)

Entrepreneur Showcase: Food with Climate Change Impact

10th Annual Food Investor Fair
2:40 pm
Stage (followed by Q&A in Expo)

Marketplace of Opportunities

Networking and Connections: meet the 2020 Finalists and Partners, exchange information, arrange follow-ups

FOOD FUNDED 2020 Content Partners

Onye Ahanotu
Youngwon Lee
Emily Winston
Pamela Burns
John Farais
Ryan Amistead
Priyanka Khole
Toriano Gordon
Eric Quick
Sarita Lopez
Aleh Manchuliantsau
Narendra Varma
Phebe Rossi
Sanjay Rajan
Matt Kreutz
Shakira Niazi
karter louis
Katie Clark
GW “Chef” Chew
Prapti Rana
Claire Schlemme
Elizabeth Candelario
Allison Kelly
caryl  levine
Nina F. Ichikawa
Ryan Pintado-Vertner
Erin Callahan
Christine Su

FOOD FUNDED 2020 Speakers

Meet experienced leading practitioners at the intersection of food, investment, and impact


Alisa Williams is a Partner at VMG Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in helping build iconic consumer brands.  She has worked with a number of brands in the VMG portfolio, including Drunk Elephant, Nature’s Bakery and Briogeo.

Prior to joining VMG, Alisa worked in investment banking at Wells Fargo.


Carlotta Mast leads the strategy, growth and impact for New Hope Network, the leading events and information services company for the natural & organic products industry, which includes Natural Products Expos, NBJ Summit, Nutrition Capital Network, Esca Bona, Natural Foods Merchandiser,, Nutrition Business Journal, NEXT Forecast, SupplySide, Natural Products Insider, and Vitafoods.
Carlotta serves on the board of Naturally Boulder. She is a co-founder of the J.E.D.I Collaborative and serves on the board of the Climate Collaborative.
In 2013, Carlotta co-founded the paleo snack company Wholly Bites, sold to 1908 Brands in 2016.

Market Leader, SVP of Content

Gerard Nixon is the Vice President of Supply Chain for KeHE, leading the company in Supply Chain Technology, Process, and Training along with Promotional Forecasting. He also serves as the leader of KeHE’s newly formed Diversity & Inclusion Council where he channels his passion into fostering a more inclusive work environment for all.
With over 15 years of leadership experience in Sales, Marketing, and Distribution, he has worked for US Foods, U.S. Army, AT&T, and Target prior to joining KeHE.

Gerard holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA in Finance from Southern Methodist University.

Vice President of Supply Chain

Ibraheem founded A Dozen Cousins, a natural food brand that makes convenient products inspired by traditional Creole, Caribbean and Latin American foods.

Previously, he was Marketing Manager at Annie's and General Mills.

Founder & CEO

Kat Taylor works in service of restoring social justice and environmental well-being to build a more equitable and inclusive world. She is the Co-Founder and Board Chair of Beneficial State Bank, bringing beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner – and changing the banking system for good.
Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), which owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, humanely raising cattle and other livestock for the benefit of healthy soils. Kat has served on the nonprofit boards of Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, ProPublica, the Community Development Bankers Association (CDBA), Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ), and CuriOdyssey.

Co-Founder and Chair

Kristin is founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, a women-led Registered Investment Advisor leading the charge to change the face of finance by hiring and training women and people of color in sustainable and transformative investing.

Kristin founded Nia Global Solutions, a gender-lens portfolio of solutions-focused companies, in her efforts to bring impact investing into the public markets.

Founder, CEO
Miyoko Schinner

Miyoko Schinner is the fearless CEO/founder of Miyoko’s, a food brand combining culinary traditions with food technology to revolutionize dairy by making cheese and butter without cows. She has successfully scaled the production of fermented cheese and cultured butter made from plants and replaced animal-dairy products on the shelves of more than 15,000 retailers. Pioneering the plant-based cheese revolution, Schinner is a passionate culinarian, former restaurateur, best-selling cookbook author, co-host of the national television cooking show Vegan Mashup, and a founding board member of the Plant Based Foods Association. Schinner also co-founded a farmed animal sanctuary in California that provides a home to over 70 farm animals.

Founder & CEO

Nick McCoy is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital, the largest independent investment bank in
the U.S. solely focused on the better-for-you consumer sector. Nick has over 20 years of investment banking experience. Previously Nick was at First Albany (now Jeffries), Allmerica Financial Corp, and Wheelabrator Technologies.

Personally, Nick is an avid road cyclist and thinks it’s ok to cross country ski in below-zero temperatures. He’s a health-focused foodie, cooks frequently and has an extensive knowledge of wine and whiskey. Nick is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has
an MBA from Wake Forest University and an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire.

Managing Director

Sana Javeri Kadri is the founder of Diaspora Co., a direct trade spice company working towards a radically equitable, sustainable, and more delicious spice supply chain.

Born and raised in Mumbai, India amidst a big family of idealists and architects, she has over a decade of experience in every facet of the food industry and supply chain from farm worker, to line cook, to marketing consultant. She currently lives between Mumbai, India and Oakland, California.


Former CEO of REBBL, introduced Killing It: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart in 2017. She was CEO of Clif Bar and co-founder/CEO of Plum.

She is currently the co-founder of the JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) Collaborative and co-founder and board chair of the Women on Boards Project for the natural and consumer products industries.

Sheryl OLoughlin


Acclaimed for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the Executive Chef/Owner of the internationally renowned and beloved Brown Sugar Kitchen restaurant, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The author of The Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking, Holland competed on the 15th season of Top Chef on Bravo, was the host and soul food expert on Food Network’s Melting Pot, and appears on the new HBO Max show Selena + Chef. She is a contributing writer and chef to the James Beard Foundation, and Brown Sugar Kitchen has received multiple Michelin Bib Gourmand awards. She frequently leads the conversation on inclusion and equity in the hospitality industry. 

Chef & Restaurateur
Partnership Liaison



Adrian is a Co-Founder and a Managing Director of Provenance Capital Group where he helps develop blended capital structures that catalyze resilient biological systems and businesses.

Before Provenance, Adrian co-founded the boutique consulting firm Hyphae Partners where he helped companies finance and build regenerative business models. Additionally, he worked at Patagonia within its Venture Capital arm Tin Shed Ventures, helping author a standard for Regenerative Organic Agriculture and exploring Regenerative Organic Land Funds.

Managing Director

Albert Straus has been a leader in sustainable organic farming practices for many decades. He is a strong advocate for organic, non-GMO dairy production, environmental stewardship, and family farms. In 1994, when he converted his family farm to organic - the first organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River - he founded the creamery in the same year, and it became the first 100% certified organic creamery in the United States. 

Albert aims on having his dairy farm become carbon neutral in 2023 and is extending the carbon-neutral farming model to Straus Family Creamery’s supplier farms. Albert has been recognized internationally for his substantial environmental accomplishments.

Founder and CEO

PLANETARIANS makes the best meat combining the power of both worlds: plant-based proteins and fermentation.

Founder and CEO

Ali is responsible for identifying mission-aligned businesses throughout the U.S. and deploying effectively-structured integrated capital to support their success, with a focus on inclusive resilient food systems and regenerative agriculture.
She has an MBA in Sustainable Solutions, and 13+ years of professional experience catalyzing market transformation, focused on leveraging community development finance to empower marginalized communities.

Senior Lending Manager, Food
Alicia Kidd

Alicia Kidd is a seasoned social impact entrepreneur in the wine industry. With 18 years of professional work experience in the corporate sector, Alicia's passion for wine, travel, art, and culture turned into a part-time job in the wine industry and led her to create her first company The Wine Noire. With the success of her current business, she created CoCo Noir Wine Shop & Bar. CoCo Noir Wine Shop & Bar is a brick-and-mortar wine shop that offers Women, BOPIC, and POC winemakers the opportunity to sell their wines. Her company is raising capital on the Wefunder platform and will open in the 1st quarter of 2022 in Downtown Oakland California.

Founder & CEO

Allison Kelly is deeply committed to fighting economic inequality through innovation and out-of-the box partnerships at a community-based CDFI, ICA where she has been serving in the role of CEO since June 2019.

Prior to ICA, Kelly was the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at CDC Small Business Finance, a leading U.S lender focused on supporting entrepreneurs in undertapped communities. Kelly has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and for-profit worlds, having worked in the financial- and healthcare-service industries.



Angie Mertens

Angie Mertens is a board member of Slow Money Northern California and part of the FOOD FUNDED production team. Her expertise is in program design and implementation, training early stage companies, investors and corporates to scale their social impact, and ecosystem building.
Angie has been spearheading ONE WORLD Training as the Program Director since 2015. She has produced numerous ecosystem events and enterprise showcases in collaboration with organizations such as Social Venture Circle, toniic, Spero Ventures, Nia Impact Capital and others. Angie is a lifelong health-focussed eater, passionate cook and can be found exploring Bay Area’s farmer’s markets.


Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author, a renowned advocate for sustainability and justice along the food chain, and an advisor to funders investing in food system transformation. A James Beard Leadership Awardee, Anna is the co-author or author of three books on food, farming, and sustainability and the contributing author to thirteen more.

Anna is the founder or co-founder of three national organizations including the Small Planet Institute, Small Planet Fund and Real Food Media. Anna developed and leads the Food Sovereignty Fund, a global grantmaking program of the Panta Rhea Foundation.

Director, Founder, Strategic Advisor

As the son of Asian immigrant small business owners, Anthony has been working in economic opportunity for communities of color, in particular immigrant communities. He helped channel capital to communities of color and immigrant small business owners. He learned the benefits and drawbacks of CDFI lending to small businesses through 15+ years at Opportunity Fund and California FarmLink.

On the boards of Common Future and RSF Social Finance, he has worked to connect wealth holders and community wealth builders and/or social enterprises. Anthony has most recently partnered with the collaborative CA BIPOC Farmer/Land Steward Relief Fund. His current role at Kitchen Table Advisors focuses on shifting capital to fuel the economic viability and self-determination of a multi-racial next generation of sustainable small farms and ranches.


April Fenall


Arno Hesse is dedicated to financing a sustainable and equitable future with thriving food systems and regenerative technologies. He co-founded the community capital services Credibles and Investibule.

As a co-leader and investor with Slow Money Northern California, Arno has led multiple investments in food businesses, with a focus on climate change and social justice.

Previously, he was Executive Vice President for Retail Markets at MUFG Union Bank.


Aruna Lee grew up in a Buddhist monastery in South Korea where home-grown vegetables were at the heart of every meal. In 2014, she launched Volcano Kimchi in San Francisco and has since dedicated herself to the art of fermentation to craft high-quality kimchi and sauces.

Sourcing from local organic growers, Aruna puts a local flare on traditions to create products that are uniquely Volcano Kimchi.

Aruna Lee


Ashani developed his own sauce, a Caribbean fusion finishing sauce called Lion’s Breath. During this process, he immediately recognized the barriers that discourage entrepreneurs of Color from participating in the retail food product industry.

After attendeding The Art Institute of Northern Virginia, Ashani opened and ran a catering and bartending company, DeGruv Liquid Catering, executing over 8,000 Events.

Ashani is truly dedicated to serving the Black + Indigenous POC maker community.


Bakari is passionate about the mission of Uhuru Foods & Pies. In fact, at the Uhuru Pies booth at a local farmers market he encourages customers to volunteer in contributing to the mission. He believes African people have contributed to building economic stability for others.

“Today, we must build an independent African economy to feed, clothe, and house ourselves once again.” You can find Bakari in the bakery, at the market, delivering Uhuru Pies or organizing for Uhuru (Freedom).

Bakari Olatunji

Vice Chair

Brie's background includes community development, film, event logistics, and business strategy. Storytelling has been a prominent element throughout her career. Throughout the decades, she has also worked on numerous initiatives to aid indigenous people in their plight against environmental and social injustice.

As the Real Food Real Stories Program Director, Brie is passionately dedicated to develop, grow and refine Real Food Real Stories’ live storytelling programs and to continue to grow the fundraising initiatives to contribute to building a resilient and vibrant food storytelling community in the Bay area and beyond.

Program Director

Lotus Foods is one of the most innovative organic and fair trade specialty rice brands, pioneering the preservation of rice biodiversity and more ecological methods of rice production that save water, reduce greenhouse gasses and minimize work for women. As Co-Founder/Co-CEO, Caryl leads Lotus Foods’ strategic mission and vision to change how rice is grown around the world.

Lotus Foods has received the Biodiversity Award for Leadership from the Union for Ethical Bio Trade; Specialty Foods Leadership Award for Vision and Citizenship; Whole Foods Market Supplier of the Year Award for Environmental Stewardship. Caryl holds a MPA from the University of Hartford.


In 2018, mother-daughter plant-based duo, Chef Kami and Chef Mieko started their plant-based journey.  After realizing that available supermarket vegan food was just vegan junk food, they knew there needed to be a better option. No chemicals, no fillers—just natural ingredients. So they started Hella Nuts™

Chef Kami & Chef Mieko


Christine is an activist entrepreneur, currently leading Product for Conversational Safety at Twitter. Until June 2020, Christine was co-founder and CEO of PastureMap, an ag software platform used on 6 million+ acres globally. She is an Entrepreneur in Residence of Food System 6, advising regenerative meat companies. With Kinship Foods, a regenerative dumpling brand, she has offered Dumplings For Black Farmers fundraisers to build Asian-American solidarity with Black-led farms. Christine is a board member of Kitchen Table Advisors, a nonprofit serving 80% BIPOC and women regenerative farmers, and a voting member for the board of Greenpeace. Christine has an MBA, an MS in Earth Systems, and a BA in Political Science from Stanford.


Kinship Foods, formerly PastureMap

Claire Schlemme

Claire Schlemme is an ardent environmentalist who saw a need to fix a broken food system in order to protect the planet. She previously co-founded Boston’s first organic juice company, which exposed her to two primary challenges: food waste and the lack of affordable nutrition.

Committed to finding solutions at the intersection of food, sustainability, and accessible nutrition, Claire launched Renewal Mill.
She holds a BA from Wellesley College and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University.


I started my career in technology as the first African American female conferred in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s more than 100 year program in Aerospace Engineering. My career focus has been on  domestic volume manufacturing of emergent technologies in green/clean & food tech working for companies such as Boeing, Solar Turbines and Bloom Energy before co-founding Healthy Oceans.

Co-Founder, CTO

Clayton Harvey is a White Mountain Apache farmer with Ndee Bikiyaa (The People's Farm), a program working to restore personal and cultural health to the White Mountain Apache Tribe through agriculture.

Clayton spends his days growing healthy food for his people in eastern Arizona and teaching community members about food sovereignty, including how families can grow their own foods and revitalize a local food system that existed for thousands of years by Apache ancestors long before the reservation was created.

Clayton Harvey

White Mountain Apache Farmer

Cole is a modern-day shepherdess, an agrarian entrepreneur, educator, and community advocate. With over a decade of experience working in land stewardship, livestock management, and targeted grazing with sheep and goats, Cole's pursuits contribute to ecological resilience, wildfire mitigation, and evolution in the fiber, hide, and leather industry. She operates two businesses: Shepherdess Land and Livestock Co., a targeted grazing business with educational, consulting, and wool production arms; and Shepherdess Holistic Hides, a retail business repurposing sheep and goat hides from the meat industry to produce luxury home goods and Climate Beneficial Wool™. Alongside her own entrepreneurial endeavors, she is the director of the Community Supported Grazing Program, a nascent endeavor of the Ojai Fire Safe Council.

Shepherdess, Owner Operator
Diane J. Johnson

Diane Johnson, Ph.D., M.Div. has been working with social sector organizations, national initiatives, municipalities and foundations focused on social change. She has trained, consulted and coached more than 11K individuals and groups. Mmapeu Management Consulting works in cross-sector collaboration, educational reform, community development, faith-based partnerships, and diversity and inclusion. Clients include the U.S. Forest Service, Habitat for Humanity International, various federal agencies, Kresge Foundation, Opportunity Collaboration, Unitarian Universalist Association, and NeighborWorks America. She published several books focused on DEI. Diane received her Ph.D. from Tufts University, a Masters in Divinity from Pacific School of Religion/The Graduate Theological Union.   

CEO & Founder

Mmapeu Management Consulting


Dr. Diane Johnson is CEO/Founder of Mmapeu Consulting, aligning mission, vision and values for purpose-driven businesses, philanthropic institutions, the social sector, tech companies and market leaders. Her expertise in strategic development; cultural capacity/DEI; organizational development, institutional capacity building, leadership development, and collaboration/community engagement has been used by more than 11,750 clients.

Diane received her Ph.D. from Tufts University in Interdisciplinary Studies, a Masters in Divinity from Pacific School of Religion/The Graduate Theological Union, her M.A. in Nonprofit Management from The New School, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.  She serves as Vice Chair of the Conscious Capitalism Bay Area.

CEO & Founder

Dianna Tremblay is the Chief Program Officer at ICA, responsible for scaling the impact of the ICA's programs and cultivating the support and capital ecosystem necessary for entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.  

With expertise in program design and implementation, small business support, accessing capital, and ecosystem building, Dianna strives to use these skills to increase equitable access to capital, coaching, and networks for entrepreneurs of color.  Dianna also currently serves on the board of Naturally Bay Area.

Prior to joining ICA, Dianna's worked in sales, corporate relationship management, and business development roles. Dianna received an MBA at Mills College and a Bachelor’s from California State University, East Bay.

Chief Program Officer


Dinesh Tadepalli


Elizabeth has deep experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and believes passionately in the role of business to drive social mission.  Prior to joining Merika, she served as Managing Director of Demeter USA, the nation’s only certifier of Biodynamic farms and products and a member of Demeter International, the oldest ecological certification organization in the world. 
Elizabeth has served in sales and marketing leadership roles in the wine and natural food industry. Elizabeth is also owner of Studio Airstream, a strategic marketing practice specializing in organizational development, business development, and cause marketing projects designed to connect brands to consumers through their hearts.

Partner, Owner

Emily Winston

Founder & Chief Bagler