About this Event
Seven pioneering speakers will share their experiences in the plant-based ecosystem in a brief address. There will be multiple opportunities for Q&A during the program.
Hosted by India Rose Matharu-Daley, Kelsey Steele, and Nate Salpeter in association with Presidio Graduate School Sustainable Food Club and Sweet Farm.
- Gene Baur, Founder & Author, Farm Sanctuary, New York
- Chef Chew, Founder & CEO, The Veg Hub , California
- Toni Okamoto, Founder, Plant Based on a Budget, California
- Kai Nortey, Founder & CEO, kubé Nice Cream, California
- Fengru Lin, Founder & CEO, TurtleTree Labs, Singapore
- Christian Cadeo, Managing Partner, Asia, Big Idea Ventures, Singapore
- Nate Salpeter, Co-Founder, Consultant, & Investor, Sweet Farm, California
Founder & CEO, The Veg Hub
Topic: Food deserts and the intersection with the plant based movement
GW Chew, aka Chef Chew, is the Founder & CEO of Something Better Foods Inc. and has been a vegan food inventor/restaurateur for over 13 years. Adopted at birth into a family with a last name “Chew,” GW believes that he was born with a mission, born with a purpose, and born to change lives one chew at a time.
Chef Chew grew up in the “country” in a family of very heavy meat eaters and noticed over time that a lot of different diseases, from diabetes to cancer, plagued the members of his family. Understanding that a lot of those same diseases have been linked to poor diet and an overconsumption of animal meat products, Chef Chew switched to a plant-based diet in 2001 and started experimenting with creating vegan food products in 2004. He painstakingly invented the Better Chew proteins in his mom’s kitchen and has perfected the textures and taste over the past 15 years. As a result, Chef Chew has been able to create scalable plant-based solutions for grocery and food service that will also help existing brands innovate within their current portfolio.
He is also the founder of The Veg Hub, a non-profit vegan restaurant in Oakland that provides ethnic inspired plant-based foods to a food desert community. They also provide cooking classes and other educational services to the Oakland Bay Area in nutrition and wellness!
Founder, Plant Based on a Budget
Topic: Accessibility and demystification of plant-based cooking
Toni Okamoto is the founder of Plant-Based on a Budget, the popular website and meal plan that shows you how to save dough by eating veggies. She’s also author of the Plant-Based on a Budget cookbook, The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook, and the co-host of The Plant-Powered People Podcast. Okamoto’s work has been profiled by NBC News, Parade Magazine, and she’s a regular presence on local and national morning shows across the country, where she teaches viewers how to break their meat habit without breaking their budget. She was also featured in the popular documentary What the Health. When she’s not cooking up a plant-based storm, she’s spending time with her husband in Sacramento, CA.
Kai B. Nortey
CEO, kubé Nice Cream
Topic: Closing the waste loop and supporting returning citizens with kubé Nice Cream
Kai Nortey is a visionary and socially conscious Black woman business leader who is tenaciously building an ethnically inclusive, food justice and health economy in the Oakland-Bay Area of California. She believes that there must be a paradigm shift away from supporting big, broken food companies that use and hide synthetic chemical preservatives (sodium metabisulfite) in many common foods.
Mrs. Nortey is lactose intolerant and has healed her own gut flora issues with kubé raw coconut milk and nice cream. Fresh coconut cream from mature coconuts, promote a balance of good gut flora due to the immune boosting properties of lauric and caprylic acids on the medium chain fatty acids, which are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. As a result, kubé Nice Cream is both the manifestation and culmination of Kai’s health needs and her interdisciplinary professional background.
Kai holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Biology from Mills College, in Oakland, along with a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and PR from Golden Gate University. Kai has worked in the fields of biology, bio-tech, marketing communications and PR, community activism, juvenile justice policy, and restorative juvenile justice programs for youth.
Kai strongly believes that in order to re-build healthier, sustainable food models, we must support locally resilient, artisan food systems. Artisan food systems are making a “come back” and exist to restore economic equity, health, value, dignity, environmental sustainability, and trusted relationships back to diverse communities. Ice Cream enthusiasts, who are also the lactose intolerant population, are excited to purchase the vibrant truth over and over again, because kubé inspires, awakens, and transforms people.
Founder & CEO, TurtleTree Labs
Topic: Why it’s important to work with industry to replace the source of milk for infant nutrition and dairy products
What started as a passion to make cheese and the inability to find good milk in Asia, Fengru boldly co-founded a biotech company TurtleTree Labs to create real milk through cell-based methods. TurtleTree Labs is the first biotech company in the world with the ability to create milk from all mammals. Using their proprietary cell-based methods, they will shape the future of not just how we get dairy milk but how humans will feed their infants. To maximize impact, the team will work with industry leaders to adopt their sustainable and safe methods to create milk. Their focus on impact will disrupt this multi-billion dollar industry while reducing the carbon footprint on this planet, while creating milk free of contaminants. Their innovation will provide millions access to safer, reliable, and higher-quality dairy products.
Managing Partner, Asia, Big Idea Ventures
Topic: Investing in plant-based food
Christian Cadeo is currently the Managing Partner, Asia of Big Idea Ventures, a new alternative protein venture capital fund based in New York and Singapore. Major investors in the fund include Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN/Fortune 100 company), Temasek Holdings, Buhler Group, and some of the largest family offices globally.
Christian is a seasoned operator with experience bringing US based startups to Asia. His first startup was AdMob, which was eventually acquired by Google for US $750m. Christian’s second startup was JUST, where he was the first employee internationally. The company had only raised US $30m and was valued at US $90m. It has now raised US $300m and is valued at US $1.2 billion.
Recently, Christian was at Domo, where he joined pre-IPO as the first employee in Southeast Asia. The company IPO-ed on NASDAQ in 2018. Christian also has extensive experience working at some of the largest technology companies in the world, including Google and Microsoft.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Art from the United States and will be attending the University of Oxford for a Master of Science in the fall of 2020.
Co-Founder, Consultant, & Investor, Sweet Farm
Topic: Building a plant-based ecosystem
Passionate about giving voice to those without one, Nate Salpeter co-founded Sweet Farm just south of Half Moon Bay, CA with his wife Anna Sweet out of recognition that industrialized farming has had a profoundly negative impact on the lives of billions of animals as well as plant-based agriculture. A Ph.D. engineer working in the nuclear industry, Nate brings his analytical mindset to the animal welfare space where he, his wife (Anna Sweet), and an incredible team have built Sweet Farm to be more than only a farm animal rescue, but also to be a place of education, inspiration, and innovation through animal rescue, plant-based agriculture, and technology initiatives to scale change in the food system globally. Nate and Anna are active advisors and investors in the alternative protein, agriculture technology, and sustainability sectors.
Their Goat-2-Meeting program is Sweet Farm’s pivot into the post-COVID world, helping put smiles on people’s faces while executing on Sweet Farm’s mission to educate and inspire change in the way people think about what’s on their plate and how it impacts the world.
Founder & Author, Farm Sanctuary
Topic: The animal rights movement and food justice
Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine and was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 Givers. Since the mid-1980s, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming.
A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses, documenting deplorable conditions. His pictures and videos exposing factory farming cruelties have aired nationally and internationally, educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals, and inspiring an international farm sanctuary movement.
Gene has also advocated for better conditions for farm animals in front of courts and legislative bodies and was instrumental in winning the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and introducing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming confinement methods in Florida, Arizona, and California. His work has been covered by major media outlets including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal and has published two bestsellers, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (Scribner, 2008) and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life (Rodale, 2015).
Gene co-founded Farm Sanctuary in 1986, originally funding the fledgling organization by selling vegan hot dogs out of a VW van at Grateful Dead concerts. Today, Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization. Providing rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year, Farm Sanctuary’s shelters enable visitors to connect with farm animals. Gene believes these animals are ambassadors for the billions of factory farm animals who have no voice, and he has dedicated his career to advocating on their behalf. Gene holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University.