In 2004, Don co-founded the Food Lab and currently serves as its Executive Director. Don brings his background in Systems Thinking and Organizational learning to the Food Lab Team to ensure our work is well grounded in change processes with ownership and leadership from organizations that can act and change the food system. In project work, Don often takes on a facilitator role and has an aptitude for developing shared strategies and stakeholder buy-in with deep experience in international, cross-cultural settings focused on agricultural commodities.
In addition to his director responsibilities, Don currently co-leads the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative, supports Ben & Jerry’s and other leading companies on long-term living income and regenerative agriculture programs, and advises food companies on sustainability strategy. He approaches projects with an understanding of the complexity of smallholder farming systems, supply chains, sourcing regions, and the overlay of government management and regulations. Over the last twenty years, he has worked worldwide in sectors including cocoa, vanilla, fresh vegetables, and coffee, always looking at integrating questions of economic viability, decent livelihood, and sustainable agriculture.
Don received his M.S. in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994 and has worked extensively with the Society for Organizational Learning. In 1997, he helped found the Sustainability Institute and Cobb Hill Co-housing, a farm-based “eco-village” in Hartland, Vermont.