Hal Hamilton founded and co-directed the Sustainable Food Lab for fifteen years. Hal continues to contribute his vast leadership skills and experience as a Senior Advisor to the Food Lab. Hal helps lead projects on water and crop diversification, as well as occasional supplier summits and strategic planning initiatives. He is an adviser to organizations and coach to people whose jobs involve sustainability. He is also a co-founder and faculty of the Academy for Systemic Change.
Hal’s career began as a commercial dairy farmer in Kentucky, and one of his early awards was being named Master Conservationist. While in Kentucky he led the development of the first formal alliance among tobacco farmers and public health organizations, an alliance that paved the way for hundreds of millions of dollars of tobacco settlement funds to be invested in rural communities in the upper south. He has founded and directed rural development and leadership organizations, and was the executive director of the Sustainability Institute founded by Donella Meadows.
Hal is a frequent guest faculty at the MIT Sloan School of Management and other business schools. Hal has been an adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative. At the invitation of the U.S. State Department in 2006 he gave the annual George McGovern address to the FAO at World Food Day. He has been a German Marshall Fellow, a Kellogg Fellow and received a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award.
Hal’s education was at Stanford University and the State University of New York, Buffalo. He has written numerous columns and journal articles and three chapters in books on agricultural policy and change, most recently: The Dawn of System Leadership, and System Leaders. Other publications include: Why we need Metrics and why Metrics are Dangerous; Why Sustainable Food Needs Big Business, and Why Business Can’t Do It Alone; Hitting Targets While Missing the Point; and Soil Under Our Feet. Most recently, Hal has been working on Trial and Error: a first draft of his description of life lessons about social change. He welcomes feedback.
Hal lives near Seattle, Washington with his family.