Food Initiative/

Roy Steiner

Senior Vice President, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

Roy Steiner, PhD, is the Senior Vice President for the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he leads a team focused on creating access to nourishing food for millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, supporting scientific advances in human nutrition and sustainable food production, and carrying forward the Foundation’s enduring commitment to a sustainable Green Revolution in Africa.

Roy comes to The Rockefeller Foundation from the Omidyar Network, where he served as Director of the Intellectual Capital team since 2015, focused on helping Omidyar achieve its strategic objectives at all levels including in the agriculture space. He dedicated nearly a decade of his career to leadership positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was a founding member of the Agricultural Development initiative and was instrumental in working with The Rockefeller Foundation to develop the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, or AGRA. His work for Gates was central to the creation of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency, or ATA, which helps accelerate the growth and transformation of Ethiopia’s agriculture sector, and dozens of other partnerships that are critical to the fight against food insecurity around the world.

Before the Gates Foundation, Roy spent eight years in Africa where he was founder and CEO of Cyberplex Africa, one of the largest web development and knowledge management companies in southern Africa. Early in his career, he was an original founder and managing director of Africa Online, which pioneered the delivery of Internet service in Zimbabwe. Additionally, he was a founding member of CH2MHill’s Strategies Group and has consulted for McKinsey & Company in the areas of technology innovation, growth strategies and international development.

Roy holds a PhD and a Master of Science in agricultural and biological engineering with minors in economics and international development from Cornell University, as well as two bachelor degrees in mechanical engineering and biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Authored Content

  • Apr 03 2020
    Blog Post Five COVID-19 Reflections from a Food System Perspective—and How We Could Take Action   As confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased throughout the world, the immediate instinct of many people was to ensure that they had enough food. The images of empty grocery store shelves and closed restaurants are stark and important reminders of how much we depend on our food system and how central food is in our […] Daniel Skaven Ruben, Mehrdad Ehsani, Peiman Milani, Roy Steiner
  • Nov 28 2019
    Blog Post Our Enduring Focus on Food Waste and Loss Reduction Last month, I had the honor of attending the Conference on Food Waste and Loss Reduction, hosted at the Vatican by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences along with The Rockefeller Foundation. As His Holiness Pope Francis reminds us, food waste is a symptom of our broader “throwaway culture,” a way of life that destroys our […]
  • Mar 18 2019
    Blog Post Three Reasons Cities Will Lead Us to a More Nourishing and Sustainable Food System On February 12-13, The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), hosted the inaugural Food Matters Cities Summit. The event convened a diverse set of subject matter experts and staff from 26 cities – including Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh – to share and learn about viable, impactful strategies for local government-led […]
  • Feb 12 2019
    Blog Post 10 Denver Nonprofits, Small Businesses Win Grants to Fight Food Waste Last June, NRDC announced a partnership with the City and County of Denver as part of a bold effort – Denver’s Food Action Plan 2020. The Food Action Plan is a forward-thinking program written to fulfill the goals set forward in the broader framework of the Denver Food Vision. The Food Action Plan seeks to […]
  • Oct 15 2018
    Blog Post 4 Ways to Build a Food System for the Future   Twenty-seven years ago, I first entered The Rockefeller Foundation as a Warren Weaver Fellow in the Agricultural Sciences program. I worked under the watchful eyes of Bob Herdt and Gary Toenniessen to help create a more robust definition of sustainable agriculture—a task that required me to catalogue and analyze more than 300 long-term agricultural experiments […]
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