Fair Food Network Announces New CEO
Kate Krauss, Executive Director & COO, will take the helm in January 2023 as Oran B. Hesterman steps into new role as Founder & Resident Champion
8 June 2022 | ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Fair Food Network, a national nonprofit and investor, announced today that Kate Krauss, current Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, will become Chief Executive Officer in January 2023 as Oran B. Hesterman transitions into a supporting role as Founder & Resident Champion.
Since 2009, Fair Food Network has transformed the way resources flow through the food economy in service of its mission: to grow community health and wealth through food. The organization’s nutrition incentive work expands healthy food access, sparking opportunities for local farmers, food entrepreneurs, and retailers; its investments in local food businesses bring nourishment to their communities and strengthen local economies.
Fair Food Network’s signature program, Double Up Food Bucks, matches SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) spent on fruits and vegetables; its national model has been adopted by partners in 28 states. The organization also leads technical assistance and innovation for the Nutrition Incentive Hub, a USDA-supported center launched in partnership with Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. Fair Food Network’s impact investing work fuels the success of food entrepreneurs by providing catalytic capital, wrap-around business services, and a commitment to place-based investing collectives.
“Oran has planted the seeds for sustainable agriculture and food systems that have grown into a national movement; I feel honored to be able to call him a mentor. And I am honored to assume this new role, and lead such an incredible team in our next chapter of work,” says Kate, who was identified as Fair Food Network’s next successor after seven years of expanding and strengthening the organization. “I love that food can be both a source of joy and a path to justice,” she continues. “It can also bring people together to take collective action. We’re living through a time that demands systemic change, and I’m thrilled to further explore how food can act as a starting point for transformation.”
In his new role as Founder & Resident Champion, Oran will continue to promote food-centric solutions, mentor the next generation of leaders, and collaborate with partners, funders, and policymakers to create positive change.
“Founding and fostering the growth of Fair Food Network has been an incredible honor. I am beyond grateful to our team, partners, and supporters who have believed in us and made our work possible,” says Oran. “The journey continues, and I’ll be here to support Kate, the rest of our dedicated team at Fair Food Network, our communities, and our wider society as our organization evolves.”
Today, Fair Food Network is broadening its mission with a new focus on environmental stewardship, a definitive commitment to equity and justice, and stronger systems for learning and accountability across all programmatic work.
“Oran and Kate have worked together to build a strong foundation for growth at Fair Food Network,” says Gary Appel, Chairman of the Board of Fair Food Network. “Kate’s appointment as the next CEO is a natural evolution of leadership that benefits the organization and the good food movement as a whole—one that is unanimously and enthusiastically supported by the Fair Food Network board.”
Learn more about Fair Food Network’s CEO transition.
About Oran B. Hesterman, PhD
With more than 40 years of experience as a scientist, farmer, philanthropist, businessman, educator, and passionate advocate, Oran is a pioneer of the good food movement. He founded Fair Food Network in 2009; under his leadership, the organization has seeded and scaled food-based solutions that improve healthy food access for families and economic equity for farmers and food businesses, both in Michigan and nationwide. Working at the intersection of food, health, and economic justice, Oran ushered Fair Food Network into impact investing, fueling the success of food entrepreneurs through catalytic capital, wrap-around business services, and a commitment to place-based impact investing collectives. He is the author of Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All, an inspiring guide to changing not only what we eat, but how food is grown, packaged, delivered, and sold.
About Kate Krauss
As Fair Food Network’s Executive Director since 2019 and Chief Operating Officer since 2015, Kate has significantly expanded Fair Food Network’s impact. Under her leadership, Fair Food Network’s signature Double Up Food Bucks program amplified its reach in Michigan from farmers markets and a small grocery pilot to a presence in more than 250 retail outlets statewide—translating into a tenfold increase in families served. Kate elevated Fair Food Network’s impact investing work from its initial focus on small, regional farms to a national effort to redress racial and gender-based inequities, supporting entrepreneurs who are often overlooked by traditional investors. She also led the organization in its work providing technical assistance and innovation for the Nutrition Incentive Hub, a USDA-supported coalition, launched in partnership with Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, which supports nutrition incentive programs and produce-prescription projects across the country.
About Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit and investor that grows community health and wealth through food. We transform how resources flow through the food economy for a more fair and resilient future. Our approach integrates policy advocacy that brings proven solutions to scale, partnerships that increase our collective impact, and investments in food organizations and businesses that serve their communities. We’re building a world in which everyone has access to healthy choices, economic opportunity, and a resilient environment. When we start with food, everything else is possible. Join us at FairFoodNetwork.org.