The genesis of the FEED Collaborative can be found several years ago by way of a design project that Matt sponsored for Debra’s d.school class at Stanford, Designing For Sustainable Abundance, in which students were tasked with finding solutions that “reduce meat consumption in Stanford’s undergraduate dining halls”.  In collaboration with Arianna McClain, a post-doctoral researcher in the Stanford Medical School, a promising solution from the class was implemented and evaluated for its efficacy.  It worked (read about it here) and we have been collaborating ever since.

For general requests for information & questions, please e-mail us here: feedcollaborative -at- dschool.stanford.edu


Matt Rothe, co-founder

Co-founding the FEED Collaborative has allowed Matt to do exactly what he wants to be doing: exploring the intersection of design thinking, social entrepreneurship, experiential education in food, and the existential questions that plague our food system.  His career before launching the FEED Collaborative is perhaps best summed up by way of a recent blog post:

“When it comes to the food system, I’m like Johnny Cash:  I’ve been everywhere, man.  I was raised on a conventional corn farm in Colorado, and when I needed a little more cash than my dad could pay me, I took a job as a picker in what was then the world’s largest beef slaughter plant.  I’ve worked as a dishwasher in three states, have earned cash under the table as a cook, and have spent months working in various locations—most of them malodorous and uncomfortable—alongside non-English speaking migrant farm workers.  Before becoming a supply chain expert, entrepreneur, quasi food scientist, armchair food economist, urban micro-farmer, sustainable food guru, and food system d.tinkerer, I worked in fast food to support a slow food habit of fly-fishing.”

Matt earned a BA in Environmental Earth Science from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.  When not dusting his diplomas, he can be found with a full belly at the Stanford Community Farm.  For more information, check out his personal website.

 Debra acts as a fantastic strategic leader and grounding force for the FEED team.

Debra acts as a fantastic strategic leader and grounding force for the FEED team.

Debra Dunn, co-founder

A long-time member of the faculty at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design and Co-founder of the FEED Collaborative, Debra also works as a highly regarded advisor to business start-ups and social ventures around the world.

Previously, Debra worked as a business executive at Hewlett Packard.   Her 22 year career at HP spanned diverse roles including Sr. VP Corporate Affairs & Global Citizenship, VP Strategy & Corporate Operations, Division General Manager, Marketing Manager & Manufacturing Manager of Video Communications Division, Human Resource Manager of Stanford Park Division.

Debra holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative economics from Brown University in Providence, R.I. and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

She serves on the Boards of the Skoll Foundation, B Lab and the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the advisory boards of IDEO.org and Yoxi.



The FEED Collaborative summer fellowship is available to graduate and undergraduate students, and is targeted at students with experience in design thinking and a passion to create impact in the food system.  Student fellows work closely with both FEED Collaborative leadership and partner organizations to accelerate the impact of our partners work to create a more sustainable food system,  while honing their skills in human-centered design and collaborative leadership.


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Based in San Francisco, CA, our fellows are working with IDEO.org to understand potential opportunities for new design projects in smallholder agriculture, and are looking particularly at low-cost precision agricultural tools and technologies and tools, protocols and methods to reduce post-harvest losses of waste and spoilage. 

 Gabriela Leslie, 2016 Summer Food System + Design Fellow - IDEO.org


Gabriela is an environmental systems thinker passionate about designing solutions for the challenges in our global food system that benefit both people and planet.  She received her B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford in 2014.  She is currently pursuing an M.S. in Earth Systems, and in her free time adores playing guitar, hiking, skiing, and perfecting her sourdough bread recipe.  


Hannah Potter is a graduating senior from the small town of Yarmouth, Maine. At Stanford she studies International Relations with a focus on social development. Hannah just finished her thesis on immigrant health disparities in the Bay Area. She is thrilled to be combining her interests in international development and design with the FEED Collaborative and IDEO.org! 


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SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture Education) TEAM

Based in Berkeley, CA at the David Brower Center, our fellows are working on a project with SAGE for the San Mateo County Food System Alliance to do the background research, investigation and stakeholder engagement to build the knowledge and network foundation to create a "local food and farm bill" for the Bay Area region. 



Erica is a rising senior at Stanford University majoring in Earth Systems with a concentration in sustainable food and agriculture and minoring in Art Practice. She has a deep love for nature, especially animals, and is concerned about the future impact climate change will have on the global food system. She is passionate about food justice including food security and food sovereignty. Erica is very enthusiastic to contribute to the efforts of the FEED Collaborative and SAGE in the creation of a local food and farm bill for San Mateo County.


Lauren Brown is a rising senior and a B.A. candidate in Human Biology. She is studying environmental health policy and sustainable food systems as well as minoring in Education. She is very passionate about farm and garden education and spends her weekends volunteering at Hidden Villa, introducing children and their families to farm animals and organic gardening. She's excited to work with the FEED team as well as the SAGE team in Berkeley. 



The FEED Collaborative is supporting two teams in our Stanford-based incubator program this year. Teams are comprised of students working on a student-initiated and lead projects with clear goals for improving equity, access, and overall sustainability in some aspect of the food system and are in the early seed stage of organizational or product development. 

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Farming Hope is a budding social enterprise centered on gardening and food as tools to end homelessness. Our team leads programming in the dirt and in the kitchen, fostering vocational therapy, training, employment opportunity and individual growth. We are building communities with healthier social networks and breadbaskets, one person at a time.

 Jamie Stark, Farming Hope Team Co-Leader

Jamie Stark, Farming Hope Team Co-Leader


Jamie earned his M.A. in data journalism from Stanford University, and his B.A. in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to grad school, he lived and freelanced for two years in El Salvador, where he helped co-found a sustainable agriculture project called Farming Hope. Jamie has reported across Latin America and now the San Francisco Bay Area, with an interest in highlighting solutions to societal problems.


Kevin received his B.A. in Human Biology at Stanford and is working towards a M.S. in Earth Systems with a focus on sustainable food and agriculture. In 2013 he started Stanford's first student led cooking organization and began studying food as a major contributor to health. He believes becoming more closely connected with our food system will help alleviate many social issues. When he isn't thinking about food, you can find him hip-hop dancing with the SF based dance company Project M.


Laura holds a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Stanford, and is pursuing an M.S. in Earth Systems with a focus on using design to solve problems in conservation and the biological sciences. She first got excited about urban agriculture as an avenue for working on societal problems while working with children in underprivileged neighborhoods in her hometown of Santiago, Chile. In her spare time Laura likes to explore new cities and wild places, sing at odd hours of the day and keep up with her passion about Italian culture -- and food.



Alexander Lee is a rising junior and B.S. candidate in Product Design. He hopes to combine his knowledge in mechanical engineering and the design thinking process to create socially impactful solutions in the future. Although he knows nothing about urban farming yet, he is excited to explore opportunities in the Bay Area and get his hands dirty to learn.