Anya Fernald is the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo Inc., a group of innovative, agricultural ventures in California and Belize, which strives to make good food both the old-fashioned way and on a larger scale than ever before. Belcampo employs over a hundred people in total, with plans to grow awareness, availability and production of sustainably farmed food through its operations of organic farms, butcher shops and restaurants, as well as unique, luxury agritourism destinations.
Anya developed her expertise in sustainable food and business management with over a decade of hands-on experience. As a Watson fellow in Europe and North America, she began her career in food as an itinerant cheese maker. In 2000 and 2001, Anya gained knowledge of the business side of food making by developing and implementing business and marketing plans for small-scale cheese makers in Sicily for a European Union rural development initiative. She then moved on to direct the International Presidia program at the Slow Food Foundation in Italy, where she devised and instigated a micro-investment program that managed business planning and marketing for small-scale artisan food producers in countries such as Madagascar, Sweden, Ecuador and Bosnia between 2001 and 2005. After returning to her home state of California in 2006, Anya directed a statewide farm-to-school initiative in over 100 low-income schools and launched the California Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign. In the summer of 2007, she became the executive director of Slow Food Nation and soon founded Live Culture Co., a business and marketing consulting firm that advised, supported and further developed over two dozen profitable, values-driven food businesses in its three years of activity. In 2011, Anya founded the nonprofit Food Craft Institute — which hosts the annual Eat Real Festival in Oakland — and currently serves as its board chair.
Anya has been recognized as one of the 40 under 40 by Food & Wine, was named a Nifty Fifty by The New York Times, appeared in a lengthy profile in The New Yorker’s 2014 Food Issue, and served as a regular judge on Iron Chef America on Food Network for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. She also co-authored two books for Slow Food’s international publishing house as well as her debut cookbook, Home Cooked, that was released in spring 2016 with Ten Speed Press. Anya is an avid consumer and producer of almost everything fermented, and she spends her spare time with her young children: daughter Viola and son Theo.