Elettra Wiedemann, photo by Drew Wiedemann
FEED founder speaks to MISSION in their engagement with the community and their fight to end world hunger.
By Emily Ramshaw
I am a mama, wife, hunger activists, earth lover, & FEED bag peddler
What is your educational background? When did you found Feed Projects and what inspired it?
I graduated from Princeton in 2006 with a degree in anthropology and photography. I was inspired after traveling around the world with the UN World Food Programme and seeing the plight of hunger that one in nine people face every day and wanting to do something to change that.
What are Feed’s goals and how to you work to achieve those goals?
Feed aims to help feed children in need. Every Feed product we make and sell has a number on it, which signifies the amount of meals we are able to donate with the purchase. By growing our business and selling more products, we are able to make donations to our giving partners on the ground.
Tell me about opening the store in Brooklyn. Why was it important to have a physical store?
Having a physical store has been a dream of mine since starting Feed, and it is so fun to see our brand manifested in the shop and café. For us, it is a community center, an R&D lab, and a place where we can really tell our brand story.
What have been some of the most rewarding moments for you related to Feed?
Opening our first store was very rewarding, and more recently celebrating our 10-year anniversary and reaching our 100 million meals donated mark was also incredibly surreal and awesome.
Why is Feed’s philanthropic model so effective?
I believe customers have gravitated towards Feed because they like our product, and our number model allows them to very tangibly know exactly the impact they are having when they purchase a product from us.
Has your perspective towards your work changed since becoming a parent?
Becoming a parent, which inevitably means obsessing over what you are feeding your child and how healthy and happy they are, has really brought the mission of Feed to life for me in a new way. I have met countless parents around the world who, because of difficult circumstances, just do not have the means to feed their kids what they need. This sad fact is all the more heartbreaking now that I am a mom myself and can really empathize with the burning desire most every parent has—to provide the very best for your kids.
Which bag do you carry and what would we find in it?
I really carry a different Feed bag all the time. More recently I have been carrying our new Feed anniversary tote, which can be found at feedprojects.com or in our store in Dumbo Brooklyn.
Current project you’re working on:
What is the achievement of yours that you are most proud of? The biggest hurdle that you have overcome?
Launching and then running a social business for the last 10 years—there have been so many lessons learned and hurdles along the way, but I am proud that Feed has proven that you can be an entrepreneur while also giving back and making an impact.
Issue (something going on in the world) that is most important to you right now:
Hunger is still the number-one killer, more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB combined. It is a massive human rights issue, and it is unfortunate that so many (one in nine) around the world are in constant survival mode, not able to thrive and plan for the future because they worry about where their next meal will come from.
Currently watching/reading/listening to (can be TV, film, novel, podcast, album, etc.):
Watching Stranger Things, reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.
When you’re not working on [career, activism, etc.], we can find you:
With my son, James.
How is your work making a difference?
We aim to engage consumers and our community as a whole in the fight to end world hunger, which can be a very tough issue to begin to engage in, given the scale of it.
Who is a Woman of Empowerment in your life (a woman who inspires you, who you look up to)?
My sister and mom and the women of Team Feed. I am very lucky to be surrounded by empowered and amazing women every day.
How are you a Woman of Empowerment?
I hope to lead by example and pursue a higher calling to help those in need. To me, the highest form of empowerment is lifting up others.
My mission is:…to feed the world