Who Is Origins of Food?
Lindsey Berk and Matthew Orchard are the founders of Origins of Food, but we couldn't do this without our community of farmers, grassroots organizers, faculty members and other program leaders. Origins of Food's home base is located on unceded Abenaki territory, now known as Vermont.
Matt was born in a dairy town in southwestern Victoria, Australia, where his good food adventure began at an early age at home. Family traditions centered around foraging wild foods, preserving backyard fruits and regular family BBQs with locally caught fish or steaks from his family’s hand-raised cow. Growing up, Matt took these influences for granted, but combined with a year-long journey around Latin America, it would become the foundation of Origins of Food.
Matt found himself at Pisco Sin Fronteras, a unique grassroots NGO that encouraged leadership, community immersion, practical learning, and most importantly, self-sufficiency. PSF gave Matt the opportunity to delve into disaster relief and community development project management, key to the next steps on his journey.
With a backpack still strapped to his back, Matt soon became inspired by local food traditions across continents. Smoked clams in New Zealand, mountainside potato harvests in Peru, bunches of bananas chopped down in Australia, 100 pound sacks of red coffee cherries in Guatemala… each place showcased its character through its landscape and unique food systems. And each experience was cultivated by a farmer who inspired Matt to share good food experiences in a way that helps people understand the importance and power of the foods we eat.
A decade later, Matt has gone from being in constant flux around the globe, to being an active community member in rural Vermont. Matt works on an Organic farm and serves on his town's Energy Committee, which is planning a statewide Electric Festival for Summer 2022.
Lindsey spent seven years in marketing, advertising and PR in the private sector, and in 2011 escaped the cubicles of New York City to find herself nestled in the vines of Mendoza’s wine country as a harvest intern.
What was meant to be a five month hiatus became a four year journey around Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. A life-changing role at a Peruvian disaster relief organization convinced Lindsey to continue working in the non-profit sector, and experiences working with a Guatemalan coffee cooperative and many WWOOFing farms locked her into the good food movement for good.
Lindsey now serves as the Executive Director of non-profit ACORN, dedicated to strengthening the local food system in Vermont's Champlain Valley. She is also a marketing and project management consultant for small farms and mission-driven organizations, on the Planning Committee for the International Workshop on Agritourism, coming to Vermont in Summer 2022, and serves on her town's Restorative Justice committee. She is also a climate activist and Board Member of 350VT.
When not organizing a food adventure or trying to find the best maple creemee in Vermont, Lindsey can be found mountainside, hiking, snowboarding and kayaking, enjoying down time with two cats and a stack of books, or tending to her backyard garden, with her latest Discover Weekly playing in the background.
Lindsey is a trained yoga teacher and Good Grief facilitator and is always down to stop and enjoy a moment of stillness wherever she finds herself in the world.
NIKKI BOGAN - Program Leader, Peru
Nikki is native to Oregon in the USA, however, for the time being she has set up home in the Sacred Valley of the Incas where she runs an NGO called From the Ground Up with her husband Victor. She has a masters degree in international development and service and has a strong passion in growing food and eating food alongside community. Nikki first learned about Origins of Food during her masters degree program and decided to participate in the One Health 3 week program in Guatemala. It is there that she developed her ideas around permaculture and other food systems! Now she spends a lot of time in her garden and appreciating the gifts given by the earth.
A Social Enterprise
Origins of Food follows the ideals and ethics that other organizations, such as those belonging to benefit corporations, may include in their own ethos. We are dedicated to considering our society and the environment in our decision making process rather than being a bottom-line, profits-driven company.
By collaborating with and supporting various small food producers and food justice organizations, Origins of Food will promote socially-driven advocacy and effect change through farm and production tours, hands-on workshops, stimulating discussions and collaborative partnerships.
"I have learned more than I could ever learn in a lecture hall."
- Katie F., Oregon