host, Aaron Niederhelman
ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE EVANGELIST:
A life-long advocate of healthier and cleaner food, Niederhelman was selected as a 2015 Eisenhower Fellow to explore the impact of good and bad management practice on an ever shrinking planet. At home, collaborating with diverse stakeholders to promote economic growth from well sourced food with regional provenance – Niederhelman previously co-founded the EAF Agrarian Fund. Now, along with his efforts to modernize meat supply through OneHealthAg & non-profit farm-of-the-future, Aaron co-founded HINGELINE to promote anchor brands in North Atlantic fisheries towards becoming standard bearers for clean and healthy seafood across the globe. Aaron enjoys spending time with his family, and participates in initiatives and boards for passions ranging from food security to climate change to social responsibility.
Niederhelman’s bio: aaron.farm
– founder at OneHealthAg / FFC
– founder at HINGELINE
– Eisenhower Fellow ’15
– speaker / host
– founder at Agrarian Fund
– dad in a family of composters
John Della Volpe || Jennifer Hashley || Scott Soares || Chris Sherman
Ken Kaplan || Renee Vassilos || Lauren Abda || Jay Vilar
John Della Volpe
- Founder at SocialSphere
- Eisenhower Fellow
- Director of Polling at Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics
Co-host: John Della Volpe is the Director of Polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where he has led the institute’s polling initiatives on understanding American youth since 2000. The Washington Post referred to John as one of the world’s leading authorities on global sentiment, opinion and influence especially among Millennials and in the age of digital and social media. In 2008, he received an Eisenhower Fellowship for which he traveled extensively throughout China, Hong Kong, and Korea (including a supervised day in North Korea) studying Millennials; in 2011, he was appointed to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission on Media. John is also founder of SocialSphere, a Cambridge based public opinion and analytics company. He serves on the Board of Trustees of iCatholic Media, the Ad Club of Boston and is a member of the Global Alumni Council for Eisenhower Fellowships. John appears regularly on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and his insights on the Millennial generation are found in national media outlets in the U.S. and abroad, including the Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
- Founder of Tufts New Entry Sustainable farming project
- Owner of Pete & Jen’s backyard birds
- Evangelist | Activist| Innovator
- Eisenhower Fellow 2016
Co-host: Jennifer Hashley always adds insight to the conversation. Coming at it from a producer, aggregator, and teacher’s seat – Hashley knows the bottlenecks, and the potential of it all. Centered out of the Tufts Friedman School of nutrition – The New Entry Sustainable Farming program is one of the first initiatives nationwide to help immigrants and refugees develop commercial farming opportunities. Jennifer’s goal is to help new farmers excel in the field, and New Entry gives them the tools to do that. It’s a revolutionary program that looks at sustainable and regenerative farming as jobs creation, and economic growth for regions often in need of stimulus. In partnership with her husband, Jennifer oversees a diversified pasture based livestock operation, including Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds on the the renowned Codman Community Farm in Lincoln MA. She’s a wonderful advocate for the agricultural region of the Northeast, and the small farmers everywhere.
- Former Commissioner MA Agriculture
- Dir. USDA Rural Dev Northeast for Obama administration
- 15 years of fishery & Aquaculture experience
- Served as 1st MA coordinator of aquaculture for a decade
Co-host: Scott Soares is former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration. Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade.
Soares has long since been dedicated to improving the lives of fishermen and farmers through facilitating economic and environmental adaptation. From creating agricultural support programs and services, to adapting laws and regulations to be more producer friendly, to administering international and domestic market development for US producers – Soares has well earned credibility in the aquatic and terrestrial food production industries. Soares is now a Principal at HINGELINE- and a trusted voice to seafood producers up and down the east coast.
- President of Island Creek Oysters
- Eisenhower Fellow 2018
- Regenerative Ocean Farming Pioneer
- Curator of ICO Foundation
Co-host: Chris Sherman is President of Island Creek Oysters. Focused on promoting the many values that shellfish bring to humans, the Oceans and the planet – Chris and his team have built a brand known for global excellence. As pioneers in regenerative ocean farming – Island Creek Oysters have established a sustainable model of sustenance, and jobs for their community in Massachusetts. Levering his ocean smarts to do greater good, Chris also curates the Island Creek Oyster Foundation, a non-profit which has codified a replicable model of aquaculture for the developing world. Additionally, Chris is a 2018 Eisenhower fellow. As part of his program to Spain & Columbia – Chris assessed capacity building and innovative financing models for the future of aquaculture.
- Health care system research @ MIT
- Systems Designer & Architect
- co-authored transformative Child Obesity study
- Contributed to the design of the modern operating room
Co-host: Ken Kaplan – Over the last dozen years Kaplan has been a visiting Scholar, a Senior Health System Advisor at the Sociotechnical Systems research center, and now he Advises the Sloan Initiative for Health Systems Innovation at MIT. Continuing with his life’s passion, Kaplan has seen his theories on both Systems Design and Social Determinants of Health come to fruition. Ken shares unique wisdom and perspective on the food system
“You can’t change the health care system without addressing the food system first” – explains Kaplan.
- Agricultural Economist
- Regenerative & Big Ag intermediary
- past portfolio manager: Deere China
- Bilingual Dutch / American citizen
Co-host: Renée Vassilos is a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist with over fifteen years of agriculture industry experience. Her expertise ranges from strategic market analysis and product development to sales, marketing and distribution strategy. She has lived and worked abroad- three years in Amsterdam and six years in Beijing- contributing to her robust global experience, cultural competence, and network.Today, Vassilos is sharing her expertise through her consulting business. She utilizes her global cross-functional experience from working for the USDA and John Deere to support the growth of sustainability-focused agriculture businesses. She has a BS and MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and University of California, Davis, respectively.
- Founder at Branchfood
- Partner at Branch Venture Group
- ‘New Food’ hub of the Northeast
Co-host: Lauren Abda is the founder and CEO of Branchfood and Partner at Branch Venture Group. Her work is focused on supporting local, national, and international food initiatives transforming our food system for the better and also aggregates resources for food entrepreneurs to help their businesses launch and grow. Prior to Branchfood, she consulted for foodtech businesses in Boston and San Francisco, worked as an analyst for Salt Venture Partners LLC, a venture capital firm, focused on food startups, targeting content, commerce, and technology, and wrote reports on international food safety development initiatives on behalf of the Agriculture and Commodities division at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She has a Masters in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Vermont.
- Founder of Nourish
- A focus on Nutritional Therapy
- Rodale Institute Fellow
- Host of ‘listen to your mother’ show
Co-host: Jay Vilar is the founder, and a Practitioner at ‘Nourish’ – a bespoke consulting company with a mission to educate, teach, and train people on the benefits of using food to heal your body and optimize your health. Jay has always been on the forefront of using optimal health techniques, and bio-hacking his nutrition to achieve remarkable results in his career. He attributes his success to principles he learned studying health, nutrition, and business principles on increasing your energy, sharpening your mind, being a more productive human being. Jay now spends his time teaching people how to use food to heal their body – and speaks to businesses on how to optimize focus & productivity using nutritional and behavioral science. Jay also hosts his own podcast “Listen to your Mother” – a series he records with his mother, Rosalie. Additionally, Jay recently completed a Fellowship at the Rodale Institute.