[Name]: Yoni Landau
[Areas of Expertise]: Local Food, Student Organization, Education
[Hub Berkeley Memory Lane]:
“I just love thinking about John Yuasa talking about wine down– that guy loves wine down. Did you know he worked for the Carter Administration? Yeah, he ran an anti-discrimination bureau to prosecute places that were not following fair employment standards…. I love that when I bring people here for meetings, I can just point at various Hub members and say ‘that guy worked for the White House, that person is connecting FairTrade USA with Starbucks, etc’. People are really getting shit done!”
In true Berkeley fashion, Yoni wandered into the Hub while hanging out in the Brower Center shortly after graduating from Cal. He was instantly attracted to the Hub’s branding, the “minimalism, the informational functionality” of the space and website. He was also seeking office space, so Yoni began volunteering for the Hub in order to benefit from diverse expertise and derive inspiration from the Hub’s “hip space.”
Having launched the Berkeley Student Food Collective while at Cal, Yoni has moved on to providing training and resources for student leaders at other campuses. In 2010, Yoni co-founded Co-Fed (a training program and research institute for students to create ethically sourced, community-run cafés on college campuses) with fellow Hubber Alex Stone. Co-Fed ran its pilot training program last summer, and is planning to run more incubations this summer, using a new structure of regional directors (college graduates) in the Northeast, California, and the Southwest. CoFed was recently featured in The Atlantic, Good magazine (Hub member Allison Arrief of Designers Accord wrote the article), the San Francisco Chronicle, and others.
The Hub lends Yoni some legitimacy. “It can be difficult to get people to take you seriously if you don’t have an office,” he explains, “I bring people here for meetings.” According to Yoni, being in this space, combined with free time to move around and chat is akin to getting a crash MBA– with networking as the capstone class. He explains that, “the most useful thing by far has been the incredible diversity of expertise and knowledge here at the Hub… you get peeks into so many different worlds.”
Co-Fed’s financial plan has also been catapulted into the world of start-up success by the Hub network. Yoni guesses that close to 75% of CoFed’s seed funding comes from Hub members or people he’s been introduced to through the Hub network. Their business model draws in large part from a workshop that hub member Amy Barr ran last year entitled “Business Model Canvassing”– when I ask him to describe it, he grabs a piece of paper and starts drawing.
“It’s an entrepreneurial thought tool,” he asserts, while quickly mapping out a diagram with different cells entitled “customers,” “value proposition,” and “partners.” “The map helps start-ups figure out what they have, what they need, and where they are going.”
Now that Yoni feels settled at the Hub, he has begun to feel a desire to give back to “the Tribe,” and to support early stage nonprofits trying to do something new. He is also thinking about fundraising, media, and strategic planning for CoFed. Last week, Yoni curated an awesome food movement event that converged different players in the local sustainable food movement at Hub Berkeley. The idea was to connect and feature “map-makers” who are visually representing the Bay Area food-shed.
“The Hub is at the center of the national food movement,” Yoni assures me. While it may sound bold, he explains that Berkeley sparked interest in local food because of celebrities like Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. Yoni isn’t just name-dropping– Pollan is one of several slow-food celebrities (Bill McKibben, Josh Viertel) that serve on Co-Fed’s launch committee. The event will provide a unique opportunity to connect all the different players to each other, to funding, and to food system policymakers “It’s Meta-mapping,” Yoni explains, “It’s mapping the mapmakers.”
If you are interested in helping Yoni empower students to bring ethically-sourced local food to their college campuses, look for him at Hub Berkeley and check out http://www.cofed.org/.
Thanks for Reading!
Samantha, Your Hub Stories Correspondent