No sector is more fundamental to society’s sustenance than the supply chain that provides our food, feed, fiber, and fuel. BGI has crafted a four-quarter, one-year, graduate certification to stimulate innovation and creativity in the design and operation of businesses that pursue a more sustainable food and agricultural system. This series is relevant in the US and elsewhere, and examines business opportunities at a broad range of scale, including hyper-local, local, regional, national, and global. The course series includes an in-depth action learning practicum, in which students develop and present an opportunity to start a small business, grow a medium-sized business, or change a large business.
The instructors bring a broad perspective. BGI’s Dean, Dr. John Gardner, has experience at five land grant universities, and as an agronomist, has both research and agribusiness experience in mid-west crops and livestock-based US agriculture, and globally been involved in research for sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, South Korea, Australia and central America. He complements the experience and expertise of Tony D’Onofrio, who is a Certified Executive Chef and was a regional corporate chef in the food service and restaurant industry. Tony earned his MBA from BGI and is now the Sustainability Director for Town & Country Markets, a progressive chain of Puget Sound retail grocery outlets. Together, they approach the course with backgrounds in both a supply-push and a market-pull strategy. Further, they have found the diversity of students in the program add much to the discussion, debate, orientation, and framing of the opportunity for business design.
Who Can Benefit
Anyone already (or aspiring to be) in a food/agricultural business that desires to reduce risk while increasing economic, environmental, and social performance. The certificate would be most applicable to those making the business decisions as farmer, rancher, broker/dealer, processor, distributor, wholesaler, retailer, restaurant, policymaker, non-profit, and others simply interested in the food/agricultural system as a primer to sustainability.
The certificate’s objective is to understand sustainability through multiple points of view. We’ve concluded this makes a stronger and more realistic business model, with a higher probability for success. We take seriously our students’ ability to develop a small food or agriculture business. We prepare our students to make better decisions to move mid-sized businesses and organizations toward the consciousness of the marketplace, and have the wisdom to champion change within large firms that demonstrate shared value among all stakeholders.
More information here.