Centralization of capital has an impact on every level of our food system, from the limited number of the crops we rely on to the limited number of corporations that process our food.
Critics say that centralization hinders the creation of small alternative food businesses and for neighborhood- or city-based solutions to be developed by communities.
The panel will explore how the American food system is shaped by centralization in production, consumption and economic cycles- The Commonwealth Club of California
Michael Dimock is the president of Roots of Change. He works on sustainability and high value marketing strategies to help small and medium size agricultural producers survive amidst global corporate consolidation.
The founder, in 1992, of the Ag Innovations Network, which provides strategic sustainability planning services to rural communities, food companies, and government agencies, Dimock has also been a central player in the Slow Food movement, both as chair of Slow Food USA (until 2006) and as a member of the Slow Food International board.
He has also been chair of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California's oldest organization dedicated to sustainable family farms.
Paul Frankel is co-founder and Managing Director of Ecosa Capital.
He sits on the Business Advisory Council for the Roots of Change Fund, chaired the judging panel on renewable energy at the 2006 California Cleantech Open, is a member of the Tech Museum Laureate Advisory Committee, and advises many companies in the areas of cleantech and sustainable business.
Don Shaffer, the president and CEO of RSF Social Finance, has more than 12 years of senior management experience building social mission companies.
Most recently, he served as BALLE's executive director. In addition, for the past year Shaffer was the interim executive director of Investors Circle, an organization that facilitates the flow of private capital (over $111 million since 1992) from angel investors, professional venture capitalists, and foundations to more than 200 companies and small funds addressing social and environmental issues.
Naomi Starkman is the Communications & Policy Director of Slow Food Nation.
Starkman brings her extensive skills as a media consultant to The New Yorker, Conde Nast Portfolio, GQ and WIRED magazines.
She was previously a senior publicist at Newsweek and the Director of Communications for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). From 1997 to 2000, she served as Deputy Executive Director of the S.F. Ethics Commission.
Starkman works with various clients on food policy and advocacy and is an aspiring organic grower, having worked on several farms. She holds a double B.A. in International Relations and German from S.F. State University, and a J.D. from Santa Clara Law School.