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University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business

January 23 & 24 2021 Virtual Event

About Plant Futures

The demand for plant-based foods has surged in recent years in response to changing tastes and the growing awareness of the detrimental effects that industrialized animal agriculture has on planetary and human health. Industrial animal agriculture is a leading contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and one of the “most catastrophic practices on our planet”, according to the United Nations. Additionally, animal products are associated with record-high rates of diet-related chronic disease in the U.S. and outbreaks of infectious disease.


People can drastically improve their own health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and mitigate the public health consequences of industrial animal agriculture by altering their diet and eating patterns. These changes will have profound positive improvements for the environment, and reduce the probabilities of future pandemics. During recent years, consumers and businesses have shifted to more sustainable food options in response to health concerns, and wasteful and destructive practices in the food industry. 


Plant Futures is an innovative and student-led two-part initiative featuring the Plant Futures Symposium, an energizing and exciting single weekend series of expert talks and networking opportunities open to the public, and the Plant Futures Innovation Challenge Lab, in which students have the opportunity to engage in a direct hands-on learning experience on a project with the mentorship of leading plant based industry partners. Plant Futures is a unique collaboration of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Public Health, Engineering, and the Berkeley Food Institute.

Meet the Team

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Program Director

MPH Candidate at

UC Berkeley

Samantha is a Master’s student at the School of Public Health. Her current focus is on plant based nutrition and her research examines shifts from animal-based foods to plant-based alternatives. She also pursues writing and journalism and her work has been featured in multiple outlets including The Daily Cal and Kaiser Health News. Prior to graduate school, Sam worked for environmental organizations in the Public, NGO, and clean tech sectors within the U.S, Mexico, and India. A native Floridian and second- generation Mexican American, Samantha is an avid beach-dweller and is inspired by bringing the flavors and health benefits of Mexico’s plant based cuisine to the world.


Program Manager

BS Candidate at

UC Berkeley

Brittany is an undergraduate student at the Haas School of Business, where she is studying Business Administration and Plant-Based Food Science. Prior to her role at Plant Futures, she worked as a professional chef, helped author the Wholesome Culture cookbook, and won numerous food-related competitions and awards including the Alt. Meat Challenge Lab, the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology Collider Cup, and the televised cooking show The Big Dish. Coming from a traditional meat-and-potatoes family, her passion is using biomimicry to increase the appeal and acceptance of plant-based alternatives.

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Outreach Assistant

MBA Candidate at

UC Berkeley Haas

Jordan is a first-year MBA student at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. At Haas she sits on the Student Advisory Board for the Center for Responsible Business and is the co-president of the Food@Haas campus organization/ Jordan is passionate about finding alternatives to industrial-scale animal agriculture to improve health outcomes, food security, environmental impacts, and the ethics of our food. She spent the last six years working in marketing in San Francisco, London, and Tel Aviv, and she’s excited to leverage her experience to help bring innovative plant-based food and clean meat alternatives to the global consumer market.


Challenge Coordinator

Postdoctoral Scholar at

UC Berkeley Haas

Nina is an author, speaker, and expert on the plant-based foods industry. She is currently writing a book (Bloomsbury USA 2022) based on her dissertation called How It All Vegan, which tells the story of how veganism transformed from a niche subculture into a mainstream juggernaut. Nina has consulted for numerous leading food brands including Yum! Brands, presented at venues such as the Cambridge Forum, and been featured in media outlets including Refinery29 and The Telegraph. Nina's true passion is food that is healthy, just, and good for people and the planet.



Graphic Designer


Plant-Based Industry

Sam is a designer working in the plant-based food industry. He aims to combine his interests in visual communication with his passion for nutrition, health, and regenerative agriculture. 



Faculty Steward

UC Berkeley Haas

Center for Responsible Business


Will is an internationally recognized entrepreneur, investor, and thought leader. As an entrepreneur Will helped create the premium tea category in the U.S as the founding CEO of The Republic of Tea. As a long-time faculty member at the Haas School of Business, Will developed the country’s first MBA courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Venture Development. He currently teaches Edible Education 101 with Alice Waters and Food Innovation Studio. Will serves as the faculty director of The Sustainable Food Initiative within the Center for Responsible Business and is on the Executive Committee of the Berkeley Food Institute.