2015-16 Kirchner Food Fellowships and the Program’s First Investment
– Cohort One completes investment in Green Zebra Grocery –
Toronto, Ontario and Birmingham, Alabama – 24 June 2015 – The Kirchner Food Fellowship today announced that after an extensive process the selection committee came to a unanimous decision on the selection of its 2015-2016 Kirchner Food Fellows. Cohort Two will convene in Washington, D.C. in August to begin the program.
David Byrnes is currently a PhD Candidate in Plant Biology and Pathology at Rutgers University in the Plant Breeding and Genomics field. David was named a Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security in 2013-2014, and has authored AgriSETA registered training materials for farmers in Zambia.
Eamonn McGuinty is commencing a Master of Science (MSc) program at the University of Guelph. His graduate program will involve scaling-up and evaluating distribution strategies for low-cost agricultural innovations for smallholder farmers in rural and hill-side areas of Nepal.
Sarah Piccini is beginning her Master’s degree at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where she will study food security and the world food economy. Sarah’s passion for food security and international development began while working with a farmer’s cooperative in the Ecuadorian Highlands.
“There was an extremely strong applicant pool this year and very little that separated the top candidates. It is a true testament to our unique program and its appeal to students interested in learning about investment in the AgriFood sector,” stated Alastair Summerlee, Executive Director. “I am confident that Sarah, David and Eamonn will be exemplary representatives of the program and look forward to working closely with them. We also want to thank Erin Lenhardt, Brianne Abramowicz and Ryan O’Donnell for their devotion to the program as our inaugural Fellows.”
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is also pleased to announce that Cohort One has completed an investment in healthy and socially responsible convenient store chain Green Zebra Grocery. Green Zebra is referred to as 7-11 meets Whole Foods with an emphasis on natural, organic, and local foods. They work to improve access to healthy food at affordable prices. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Green Zebra is a great social enterprise and we are proud to have it as our first company in the FundtheFood portfolio,” added Erin Lenhardt, 2014-2015 Kirchner Food Fellow. “The Kirchner Food Fellowship provides an incredible opportunity to gain insights into unique business models, network with industry leaders, and learn firsthand how to allocate capital to drive positive change. I was honored to be part of the program.”
Food Security Group, the agricultural impact arm of Kirchner Group also recently completed an investment in the Lucky Iron Fish; a simple, affordable, commercial and social enterprise dedicated to helping end iron deficiency anemia initially in Cambodia and subsequently around the world. Gavin Armstrong, CEO of the Lucky Iron Fish is an Entrepreneurial Fellow with the Kirchner Food Fellowship program.
About Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship believes it is vital for the next generation of leaders to understand, get involved and aid in funding young entrepreneurial businesses which positively impact global food security. As a complement to the ongoing efforts of micro-lenders and impact funds, the program is developing and testing lean, distributed equity investment models to find, fund and support the most promising entrepreneurial businesses that positively impact global food security, first in North America then in developing countries where it is needed most. Central to this effort are highly-committed, student-directed investment teams comprised of the Kirchner Food Fellows and supported by the full Kirchner Group ecosystem.
Food Fellowship Program
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Kirchner Food Fellowship Program
About Kirchner Group The Kirchner Group believes that every business, and every portfolio of businesses, can be made more valuable and that none should become valueless, regardless of the circumstances. Kirchner Group’s proprietary platform is built on the premise that pairing deep domain expertise with process experts provides superior results. Kirchner Group has provided traditional merchant banking services since 1985 and offers advisory, operational and transactional support to companies as well as asset management services for institutional investors. The group’s clients and partners range from promising entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies and their investors. Kirchner Group also manages assets for some of the largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors in the world.
Kirchner Group’s Agriculture and Food team has more than 95 years of collective experience as operators, transaction experts and investors in the sector. Kirchner Group founded its agricultural social impact arm, Food Security Group, in 2011. www.kirchnergroup.com
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