Food Initiative/

Sara Farley

Managing Director, Integrated Operations, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

As Managing Director Sara Farley leads the global portfolio and spearheads integrated operations for The Rockefeller Foundation’s food team.  In this capacity, she guides the work of operationalizing systems frameworks in strategy, grantmaking, and MERL (monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning) and leads such signature initiatives as the Food Systems Vision Prize and the Food System Summit. Assuring that the foundation’s portfolio delivers transformed food systems that optimize human and planetary health while increasing inclusivity and resilience to future shocks guides her efforts.

Prior to joining the Foundation, she co-founded the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) which she led for a decade, nurturing it from a concept to an organization designated as one of the “Top 100 Social Innovations for the next century”.  During her time at GKI, Sara cultivated a dynamic team that she led in the design and execution of GKI’s programs in systems research and evaluation, network optimization, and collaborative innovation strategy setting, including serving as The Rockefeller Foundation’s Social Innovation Lab on Waste and Spoilage.

Prior to founding GKI, Sara spent a decade as an innovation strategist for the World Bank and other donor and development organizations.  She has been commissioned by national governments, and international development organizations (African Development Bank, UNIDO, etc.) to lead thinking, develop networks, and devise policies to strengthen developing countries’ science and innovation capacity.

Sara graduated with honors in Science, Technology, and Society from Stanford University’s School of Engineering where she also earned a Masters degree in International Policy Studies. Following her time at Stanford, she was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellow at the Universidad de Buenos Aires where she did a postgraduate study in Technology Policy and Management. Sara’s list of publications includes more than 70 monographs, studies, and papers.

Authored Content

  • Apr 07 2014
    Blog Post New Innovations to Reduce Harvest Loss in Africa Approximately one-third of food grown across the world never reaches the plates of consumers. The significant amount of food waste and spoilage occurring across the value chain threatens farmers’ livelihoods; people’s access to nutritious food; and vital, limited resources like land and water. Many promising approaches to reducing food loss exist, including hermetic storage devices, […]
  • Jan 25 2020
    Food Sara Farley on the Food System Vision Prize How might we transform our food systems so that they thrive in 2050? Sara Farley, Managing Director of our Food Initiative, kicks off 2020 sharing why visions of the future are needed to create #ImpactThroughInnovation.
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