Robyn Metcalfe, Director
Desert running and a PB&J sandwich—what connects these topics? A tenacious curiosity to see what you can learn by just jumping in! The same sense of wonder that called Dr. Robyn Metcalfe to run the great deserts of the world has led her to take on the task of mapping our current food supply. A historian, desert distance runner, author, producer, and food futurist with a lifelong hunger to take on irrational challenges, Robyn Metcalfe marvels at what it takes to simply create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Her passion for the food supply chain and the future of food has taken Robyn across the globe to speak and teach as a thought leader in the food tech world. She is a regularly featured keynote speaker, with appearances at many notorious events such as SXSW, the Public Trust Summit, Aglanta Conference, the GoogleX Summit, and TedX Austin.
Beyond speaking, Robyn has taken a deep dive with the research and writing of her three published books: Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating (2019), Meat, Commerce and the City: The Food Markets in Nineteenth Century London (2012), and The New Wizard War (1988). Perhaps her most notable achievement as a food tech thought leader is her founding of both Food + City and The Food + City Challenge Prize, a non-profit organization aiming to support the future of food, and a pitch competition funding food tech startups, respectively.
Select Press + Appearances
- “What does ‘Local’ really mean? And is it really better?” – The New Food Economy online, March 2019.
- “A Conversation with Food Historian — and Futurist — Robyn Metcalfe” – The Boston Globe March 2019.
- “The Life Story of Your Supermarket Chicken: Food Tracking Goes High Tech”– The Wall Street Journal Online February 2019.
Podcast + Radio Interviews
- Food Routes book discussion – MIT Press Podcast; April 2019
- “The Upside of Processed, Packaged Foods” – KERA-Public Radio; March 2019
- Food Routes book discussion – Science Magazine Podcast; March 2019
- “The Chicken is Local, but was it Happy? GPS Now Tells the Life Story of your Poultry” –Weekend Edition KUT-NPR; February 2019
- “Technology to Sustainably Grow More and Better Food” – Austin Forum on Technology and Society, Austin, TX; February 2019
- “Saving Our Food” Panel discussion – SXSW, Austin, TX; March 2019
- “The Future of Eating” – SXSW, Austin, TX March 2019
- “The Future of Food/Trust” Keynote speaker – Public Trust Summit, Guelph Ontario; 2018
- “Creating New Stories, The Hard and Slow Way” Keynote Speaker – ContentATX; September 2018
- Commencement Address, Principia College, Elsah, IL; May 2014
- “Desert Running and A PB&J Sandwich” – Tedx Austin, Austin, TX; 2013
- “Global Localvorism: You Are Where You Eat” – Atlantic World Conference; March 2011