Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

From Inspired Talk to Concrete Outcomes

Beginning with a presentation at the FMI/GMA Sustainability Summit in August, I’ve been engaged for months in an intense set of ongoing conversations about food: past, present, and future. From The James Beard Foundation Leadership Conference on the links between food and health (or disease) to the New York Times’ Food for Tomorrow Conference that took a sweeping look at myriad aspects of our “food system” in the elegant setting of The Stone Barns Center; from the theme of this week’s meeting of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (Setting a Bigger Table) to the Washington Post Live session in early December (Feeding the Future), we don’t lack for impassioned, intelligent conversation.

Thought leaders are focused on food. The conversation is happening. Sure, a bigger table could be set; more voices could and should be heard. But I wonder if the bigger challenge is not rooted in a much deeper question. There is no shortage of lofty proclamations about the values we want the future food system to embody – and really not much disagreement about that either. Tougher, much tougher, is mapping a pathway that gets us from where we are today – with an installed physical, intellectual and economic base that defines our global food system – to where we want and need to be decades from now.

While “why” questions are often more intriguing, the question of “how” we get from here to there gets to the really hard questions of power, markets, and finance. If we want to do more than talk about “our common future,” we had best grapple with these knotty questions today.

When I began to unhook from SustainAbility in 2008, after 20+ years, to co-found Volans, Jonathan was working with the US end of SustainAbility — and sent the London end of the Volans team a large cardboard box of multi-colored felt rocks, which initially I couldn't make head nor tail of. I thought he was mad, or overly American.

But I have to say that, over time, those felt rocks have become a central feature of the Volans culture, thrown by team members at other team members (or guests) on the slightest provocation. That aside, he's a consummate professional, creative collaborator, skilled communicator, and keen intellect—and I am delighted both to have had Jonathan as a colleague and to now count him as a friend.

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Tweets from Jonathan J. Halperin

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"Value of collective experience" to create business value, CEO . drives .


: "Where business & social inclusion come together" can scale 4 +impact


gaining inspiration from of learning how business innovation & social inclusion align.

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Jun 14

Jonathan J. Halperin Retweeted Jonas Haertle

Looking forward to that visit & deeper collaborations to make common practice

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"We don't hire people to make brownies, we make brownies to hire people"

Jun 14

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Love typewriter exhibit at SFO! From w/ to at . Drive systems change w/ .

Driving systems change at nexus of personal responsibility, biz innovation & social inclusion w/ and Kat Taylor


"Be radical in HR to remove unconscious bias in hiring"

"Business is disco; social enterprise is punk rock." with w/