Rachel Greenberger, MBA’11, leads a life of explorations. She studied in England and India, backpacked by herself around Europe, and has been to 18 countries. She has lived on both coasts and worked in advertising, restaurants, and travel agencies. She wrote, directed, and produced a short film that takes a modern look at Siddhartha, a classic tale of self-discovery. Now as director and co-founder of Babson’s Food Sol, Greenberger brings people together to explore the vast subject of food.
Describe Food Sol. Every person is part of the food machine. So we bring people together, anyone who eats food who wants to be in an empowered role with other people around food. Not activists, not arguing about big things, but people interested in some sort of personal action, or bite-size step around their food journey, which could be professional or could be purely personal or both. We bring them together in ways where they can give and take ideas, information, relationships, concepts. Whatever they want to share or ask, how can the rest of the group help? That’s what we do.
When did you become interested in food? My personal way into the food industry is from an animal welfare perspective, and that remains true. Twenty years ago, I first saw video footage of a concentrated animal-feeding operation and slaughterhouse, and I stopped eating beef and pork. Then I was at a film festival, and I saw a movie that showed the inside of a poultry facility, and I stopped eating all birds. And then a couple of summers ago I read Eating Animals, which talks about all of that and also the seafood industry, and I stopped eating fish and seafood. So I am very personally motivated by food politics, particularly animal welfare, but there are many threads out from that into environmental concerns and human rights and all sorts of things.
Your husband is from Turin, Italy. What has been his influence on you? The whole Italian influence on food is huge. So he’s got the culture and the familial bond aspect of food. I’ve got the politics and the data. We sort of balance each other out and share ideas.
How has your view of food changed? I know a lot more, which means I know a lot less because there’s a lot to know. I feel like the further down the rabbit hole I go, the more complicated and interconnected everything gets. Food is unequivocally the largest industry on the planet. Every single person participates actively, and that’s unusual.
Are you a good cook? My husband might not say so. He’s a wonderful cook. I’m learning, but I don’t have it in my bones.—Donna Coco