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Gary Oppenheimer

Food Waste Thought Leader, CNN Hero & World Food Prize Nominee

Food Waste Thought Leader, CNN Hero & World Food Prize Nominee

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New Jersey, USA
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Gary Oppenheimer Biography

Gary Oppenheimer is a sought after food waste thought leader, World Food Prize nominee, CNN Hero, lecturer and speaker (including two TEDx presentations), Points of Light Tribute winner, Purpose Prize Fellow, Huffington Post’s “Greatest Person of the Day” and “2011 Game Changer”, winner of the Russell Berrie Foundation’s “Making A Difference” award, winner of the Glynwood 2011 “Wave of the Future” award, winner of the 2012 Elfenworks “In Harmony With Hope” award, Echoing Green semifinalist and founder of AmpleHarvest.org now makes his home in the mountains of northern New Jersey after having lived on a boat on the Hudson River in Manhattan since 1978. He is also a Master Gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, former community garden director, Environmental Commissioner in northern New Jersey, an avid gardener and long distance cyclist.

An early pioneer in the electronic mail industry, MCI Inc. asked Oppenheimer in 1985 to help them sell and support the then fledgling MCI Mail electronic mail service. Within a few years, he became their largest global sales agent. In the early 2000’s after buying a home deep in the woods in a rural northern New Jersey and planting an orchard and garden, Oppenheimer realized he actually needed to learn how to grow things and became a Master Gardener. A year later, he completed the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program.

Over the next several years, he expanded his home gardens, became a lecturer, an environmental commissioner in his town, advocated for region wide watershed preservation laws and became the director of a community garden.

Aware of the increasing hunger problem in America and, in 2009, after seeing the amount of wasted food in the community garden as well as other gardens around the country, he created AmpleHarvest.org – a nationwide effort to enable America’s 61 million home gardeners who grow food to be able to easily find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden bounty.

Named CNN Hero a year later, he was introduced on the Larry King Live show which was followed by a live interview with CNN anchor Ali Velshi. He has appeared in numerous radio and TV interviews, has spoken at a global philanthropy conference in Athens Greece, Wharton’s Social Responsibility conference, Cultivate Iowa, the Food Conference at UC Davis, Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the Brooklyn Food Conference, and many others.

Oppenheimer has also presented AmpleHarvest.org to USDA People’s Garden Initiative Conference in Washington DC, hosted a webinar for 100,000 invited USDA employees on gardening and hunger and has been interviewed numerous time by both print and electronic (local and network) media outlets nationwide.

Because AmpleHarvest.org worked closely with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to improve fresh food access at thousands of food pantries nationwide, he had the opportunity to meet the President and First Lady and she subsequently highlighted AmpleHarvest.org in a speech in early 2012.

Backed by the USDA, Google Inc. Bonnie Plants, the National Gardening Association, the National Council of Churches and many faith and service organizations, AmpleHarvest.org is now helping 8,990 food pantries be accessible to local gardeners and other donors.

He also enjoys boating, hiking, farming, and attacking challenges of all sorts. Oppenheimer is a firm believer in the notion that to do the impossible, you must first believe it isn’t.

Gary Oppenheimer Speaking Topics

  • America’s Food Safety Net – How We Fight Hunger With One Hand Tied Behind Our Back

    While 42 million Americans grow more food in their garden than they can use, preserve or give to friends, 50 million Americans nationwide are food insecure. A new disruptive solution enables people to reach into their backyard instead of their back pocket to help end hunger.

  • AmpleHarvest.org – No Food Left Behind

    Challenges encountered by great ideas and innovations in the non-profit realm and why we should welcome risking success.

  • Food Waste Costing More Than You Thought

    Half of the produce in America (including 11 billion pounds of locally grown fresh food) is never consumed. Learn the costs of food waste and some of the simple sustainable solutions to the problem.

  • People of Faith Responding To Food Waste

    A look at Food Waste Weekend – how a small non-profit has clergy of all faiths across America learning about and then giving sermons on food waste – each from their own faith perspective.

  • Innovative Solutions, Innovative Metrics

    How innovative changes call for a new way of measuring success — or failure.

  • The Power of One — How an aging geek changed a food network

    An inspirational look at how people with ideas and passion can make changes that ripple across the world. Key takeaway: You can do the impossible if you first believe it isn’t.

Gary Oppenheimer Videos

  • Gary Oppenheimer: Founder of AmpleHarvest.org
    Gary Oppenheimer is the founder of AmpleHarvest.org, an organization that links the millions of amateur gardeners to local food pantries.
  • Gary Oppenheimer Speaking at the Hubbard Sustainability Series
    Gary Oppenheimer Speaking at the Hubbard Sustainability Series on Food Waste in Omaha NE in late 2019 on food waste, AmpleHarvest.org, Food Waste...
  • Why Food Drives Contribute To Hunger in America | Gary Oppenheimer | TEDx
    In this eye-opening talk, Gary explains how donating food to your local food drive can actually contribute to the hunger problem! By donating money...

Speaker Lists Featuring Gary Oppenheimer

FAQs on booking Gary Oppenheimer

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  • What topics does Gary Oppenheimer speak about?

    Gary Oppenheimer is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Activism, Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Food, Green and Sustainability, Innovation, Lifestyle, Social Justice, TED, Thought Leadership, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Gary Oppenheimer travel from?

    Gary Oppenheimer generally travels from New Jersey, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Gary Oppenheimer is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as America’s Food Safety Net – How We Fight Hunger With One Hand Tied Behind Our Back, AmpleHarvest.org – No Food Left Behind, Food Waste Costing More Than You Thought, People of Faith Responding To Food Waste, Innovative Solutions, Innovative Metrics and The Power of One — How an aging geek changed a food network. The estimated speaking fee range to book Gary Oppenheimer for your event is available upon request. Gary Oppenheimer generally travels from NJ, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Jasmine Crowe-Houston, Sarah Frey, Kate Kavanaugh, Vanessa Garcia Polanco and Devita Davison. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Gary Oppenheimer for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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