As a child, Sarah Weiner loved food the way other little kids might love music. Her mom would hand her a treat and she’d be an angel all afternoon. Sarah also had a fondness for raising awareness for endangered species and caring for those in need. Years later she would come to realize that her passion for food and making the world a better place could come together to help reshape the nation’s food system. Today Sarah serves as Executive Director of the Good Food Foundation. On this episode of Making Ways podcast, she discusses her path from food-loving kid to Economics student at Dartmouth College, and her experiences working with Alice Waters. Sarah has fantastic practical advice on how to learn through osmosis and offers this nugget of wisdom: “If you want to be a change leader, start by being a change helper.” Listen to her story on Making Ways now.
Sarah Weiner got her start in the sustainable food movement as an intern at Slow Food International’s headquarters in Bra, Italy. What began as an internship evolved into a full-time position where she oversaw English language communications for the Slow Food International Office, translated for Founder Carlo Petrini, and penned the first edition of The Slow Food Companion.
While at Slow Food, Sarah had the opportunity to meet her long time role model, Alice Waters. A year after acting as Waters’ translator at a dinner for the Slow Food International Congress in 2003, Sarah moved to Berkeley, California to serve as Waters’ assistant and oversee special projects. After working with Alice to raise $400,000 in seed funding, Sarah left the Office of Alice Waters to open a Slow Food Nation office, recruiting a board and team to create the largest sustainable food event ever to take place in the USA. As the Content Director, she oversaw all of the marquee events for this four-day, 85,000-person festival celebrating sustainable food and the people behind it.
After a sabbatical in England, Sarah returned to the Bay Area in 2010 and together with collaborator Dominic Phillips established Seedling Projects, a ‘do tank’ for the food movement dedicated to transforming ideas into action most notably responsible for the birth of the Good Food Awards. A celebration of American craft food and drink producers who create tasty, authentic, and responsible products, the Good Food Awards unites thought leaders from every sector of the food industry — grocers, chefs, food writers, farmers, activists, academics and artisans — to choose the most delicious and sustainable products from all regions of the country. Since its inception, the initiative has tripled in size and now is considered the highest honor in the craft food world.
In 2016, Seedling Projects was reborn as the Good Food Foundation to better encompass the nonprofit’s core initiatives, which now include the annual Good Food Awards, Good Food Guild, Good Food Mercantile, and Good Food Retailers Collaborative.