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Mar 5, 2023

ep. 114: Sara Farley · The Rockefeller Foundation

Forces of Nature is a talkshow miniseries featuring dynamic leaders from across food & environmental movementsTune-in for a dose of optimism.



w/ host: Aaron Niederhelman

Sara Farley leads the global portfolio for The Rockefeller Foundation’s food team. In this capacity she is driving the Foundation’s inaugural regenerative food systems strategy and leading the articulation of a “Big Bet” for Food + Climate for the foundation. Sara is leading such signature initiatives as the Food Systems Vision Prize, and directs the diet quality portfolio and is expanding the good food purchasing portfolio and true cost accounting work globally with the aim of shifting the diet quality of 500 million underserved people by 2030.

We’ll witness all kinds of interesting climate actions in many forms over the next decade, but what feeds us may just possess the greatest potential to drive lasting change across large and diverse populations. Food and its production impact everyone; everyday. In fact, improving food systems and supporting the proper management of the resources required to produce more food in the future is a pillar of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Climate-First mission.

With a storied history of supporting the greater good, The Rockefeller Foundation investments in food-as-climate-&-social-action will cast a long-shadow over the future of giving. Furthermore, documenting the lasting wins for the poorest to the wealthiest populations will influence State sponsored resources and traditional investment dollars seeking the mutually-beneficial returns from taking food actions.



At the Rockefeller Foundation they have embraced the benefits of regenerative food production across a spectrum. The transition away from big ag won’t be easy, but from what Sara tells us – it’s all about the long game. “Regenerative agriculture is not just one thing. It covers a range of outcomes, and the practices to achieve beneficial impact on varied landscapes,” says Farley, VP of Global Food Portfolio at The Rockefeller Foundation.

Sara talks to us about just how important it is for like-minded benefactors to collaborate on big Regen efforts moving forward. “It’s not just the size of the undertaking to transition towards regenerative that requires funders to go at it together; it’s because of the multiple complexities that we’ll face in supporting the transition,” explains Farley.


"Food arrived at COP27. We no longer the little kid at the back of the room. We did have a voice. There were 200 food focus in Egypt. There 4 or 5 Food-focused pavilions. It felt like a feast. What was also existing was the food conversation wasn’t only in the food pavilion, but food was central to climate discussions in all COP pavilions,” Sara shared while explaining some of the good things that came from COP 27.
“I think within the food tent we need more discipline. We need to get clearer and sharper for what we’re advocating for. Let’s tighten up the aperture. Let’s become very clear about high ambition countries. Let’s come clear about Regen financing mechanisms, and I think we’ll come to a shorter list to COP 28.”
– ep. 114 guest, Sara Farley.


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