Who We Are
Good food changes everything.
At Fair Food Network, we believe nothing is as important to our future as food. Food matters. It connects us like few things. It reflects our culture and traditions. It heals and sustains us. And it has outsized environmental, social, and political impact.
There would be no story about Fair Food Network without Oran Hesterman. From early roots working on the country’s first student organic farm, his life’s purpose became clear: to create a more sustainable future for everyone.
In the decades following, Oran gained a broad perspective of our food system, first as a farmer turned owner of a small agricultural business, later as a scientist and agronomy professor at Michigan State University. This background laid the foundation for his next chapter at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he helped seed the local food systems movement with more than $200 million in philanthropic investments.
After more than a decade as a funder fueling nonprofit innovation and experimentation, Oran struck out to launch his own organization. And in 2009, Fair Food Network was born.
Inspiring, yet practical solutions.
We began by recognizing two of our greatest challenges as opportunities. On one hand, many families lack access to affordable, healthy food. And on the other, American farmers struggle to earn a fair pricing for their goods.
A win/win solution was born with Double Up Food Bucks, a healthy food incentive program that boosts the value of federal nutrition benefits spent on produce, while supporting local growers. Double Up was the first statewide incentive program and is today a national model implemented in nearly 20 states. And we continue to grow and innovate the program in Michigan to bring healthy food to more families, through more farmers, in more locations.
While Double Up is growing demand for healthy, locally grown food, Fair Food Network’s financing work–through Fair Food Fund and Michigan Good Food Fund – helps build our capacity to meet this demand by providing financing and business assistance to good food entrepreneurs.
In these signature programs and other projects, we are committed to pushing boundaries and identifying catalytic opportunities that create multiple wins and help move the field forward faster.
A team of pragmatic idealists.
Working with a diverse network of partners, we have made significant strides these past seven years—on the ground in communities, pioneering models that inspire others, and spurring public policy change.
This is just the beginning.
Our team leverages decades of experience in sustainable agriculture, food systems, policy, communications, public health, and community development.
We dream big, staying anchored in our core values of optimism, pragmatism, innovation, rigor, fairness, and partnerships.
We are fueled by this work and by the change we can create, together: more healthy food on the tables of low-income families, more money in the pockets of American farmers, a groundswell of American entrepreneurialism, and stronger, more resilient communities.
That is, and will always be, the work of Fair Food Network.
James Ella James
U.S. Postal Service (Retired)
Nutz and Botz
Creator, Musician, Artist and Designer
Warmels & Comstock
Certified Public Accountant
W. DeWayne Wells
Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative
Fair Food Network Advisors
State of Michigan Office of the Governor
Anthony L. Garrett
Anthony L. Garrett & Associates
Public Affairs Strategist
Founder & CEO
Harvard Business School
Professor of Agriculture and Business, Emeritus
Small Planet Foods & Cascadian Farm
Founder & Sustainability Expert
Small Planet Institute
Founder & Author
Frederick L. Kirschenmann
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
New Mexico Acequia Association
Slow Food Movement
Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs
Program Director, Agriculture and Justice
Minnesota’s World Fair
Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Nancy Snyderman, MD
Former Network Television Correspondent
Head & Neck Cancer Surgeon
Avalon International Breads
Founder & Owner
Diana Chapman Walsh
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Fair Food Fund Advisors
Beneficial State Bank
Chief Lending Officer
Heath and Lejeune
Founder + Evangelist
Keel Asset Management
Pathstone Federal Street