Currently Director of Live Culture Co., Anya Fernald has worked as a chef, a baker, and a cheesemaker, but left the kitchen behind to focus on advocacy and education for much of her career.
Anya's passion for food and cooking led to four years working for Slow Food International. With Slow Food, Anya directed the International Presidia project, where she traveled around the world visiting small artisan food producers who produce sustainable food and practice myriad types of sustainable agriculture. This experience gave Anya a deep knowledge of how food is produced and what ways consumers can act to support food production that’s good for the earth and for human health. Anya visited Madagascar vanilla plantations, Canadian wheat farms, and French cheese producers – and was responsible for telling their stories in a way that helped consumers understand their relevance to everyone's lives through Slow Food's events and publications.
Anya returned to her home state of California in 2005 to work as Program Director at CAFF, an association of farmers from across California. At CAFF, Anya published the first Buy Fresh, Buy Local guide to California, and worked with farmers, chefs, and artisans across the state to develop their marketing language and share a vision of a more sustainable agricultural system for the state of California.
Anya left CAFF in late 2007 when Alice Waters asked her to launch the inaugural edition of Slow Food Natio in San Francisco as its Executive Director. At Slow Food Nation, Anya was responsible for directing all aspects of the event, including development and refinement of the event vision and strategy, event planning, marketing, and fundraising. The event was an enormous success – attracting over 90,000 people and generating over 3,000 unique stories in the media about the event and its values. As the "face" of Slow Food Nation, Anya addressed organizations as diverse as the Farm Bureau and the Commonwealth Club, and was featured in dozens of media interviews and profiles.
After the success of Slow Food Nation, Anya founded her own venture – Live Culture – which is working on sustainable food and agriculture projects around the world including restaurant and product development, agritourism development, and diverse media projects.
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Anya spent a post-graduate year of study as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. She has co-authored two books about food and farming, and has written for numerous publications.