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.
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 blackberries and other local foods, preserving backyard fruits and regular family weekend BBQs with fresh locally caught fish or steaks from his family’s hand-raised cow. Growing up, Matt took these influences for granted, but combine a flight to Argentina when he was 21 years old and a year-long journey around Latin America, and the foundation of what would become Origins of Food was firmly set.
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. By the time he left six months later, he had become the Environmental Education Manager and had met his future wife, Lindsey.
Over 6 years later, Matt has been in constant flux around the globe, with a backpack strapped to his back and a knife and fork in his hands. Smoked clams in New Zealand, potato harvests in Peru, bunches of bananas chopped down in Australia, 100 pound sacks with ripe 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 in Matt the desire to share good food experiences in a way that helps people understand the importance and power of the foods we eat.
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 a few stints with a Guatemalan coffee cooperative, an Australian organic farm and various WWOOFing properties locked her into the good food movement for good.
After a few seasons of leading programs for Operation Groundswell, whose mantra is backpacking with a purpose, Lindsey and Matthew founded Origins of Food to reconnect people with where food comes from.
When not planning her next adventure in food education, Lindsey can be found mountainside, hiking or snowboarding, and works with Vermont non-profit ACORN, dedicated to strengthening the local food system in the southern Champlain Valley.
Lindsey is a Yoga Alliance trained yoga teacher and is always happy to throw down her mat and take in a moment of mindfulness 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