Founder & CEO
Erin is founder and CEO of The Food Mint. She is also the co-founder of Norm’s Farms, a superfruit startup dedicated to commercializing the American elderberry. She led the organization through Chicago Booth’s 2014 Polsky Summer Accelerator program, during which she designed and executed digital marketing and sales strategies that resulted in 2x revenue growth in only three months time. She most recently worked as an Associate with the Sustainable Local Food Investment Group, a Chicago-based angel investment firm, where she evaluated business and financial models for food and agriculture-focused startups. Erin previously served as the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Calibrate, Inc., a biotechnology services company based in RTP, NC. She was their youngest and only female director and highest performing sales person.
Erin graduated from Reed College (2008) with a B.A. in Religion. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2015) with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management. She was a 2014 Kirchner Food Fellow and 2015 Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium Next Generation Delegate and has served as a judge, mentor, panelist, and speaker at food-focused conferences and start-up competitions around the world.
Madison’s work centers around building vibrant, sustainable food systems that bolster resilient local economies. She co-founded the Refugee Community Partnership in Carrboro, NC, and designed its community-led food distribution program, a hallmark of local community-driven food access solutions. Madison supports young social innovators at UNC-Chapel Hill through the University’s central entrepreneurship hub, 1789. She serves on the Board of Directors for three local organizations, and is an advisor and guest instructor at UNC.
Prior to The Food Mint, Madison served as Executive Director of the Office of Community Outreach, Dissemination and Education at the UNC Center for AIDS Research. She was the co-leader of a nationwide coalition that plants and grows Community Advisory Boards at health research institutions. In 2014, she presented to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other national leaders on coalition building between academic institutions and communities. Madison holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from University of North Carolina-Asheville , and a certification from Duke University in Non-Profit Leadership.
Peter grew up on a farm in Kansas but his passion for food and agriculture led him to work on a sugarbeet farm in Germany, manage olive harvest operations in Israel, and partner in a beverage company in Romania. As Director of Corporate Strategy for an ag-focused private equity fund, Peter scouted new investment opportunities and led portfolio companies through aggressive expansion in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ukraine, and the United States. After moving to Chicago, Peter worked at The Hatchery, Chicago’s largest food-business incubator. There he consulted for early-stage consumer packaged goods companies and restaurant startups.
Peter holds an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served as a mentor for the University of Chicago’s Sustainable Food Enterprise Lab and is the chairman of the board of his local Ten Thousand Villages (TTV is one of the world’s largest and oldest fair trade retailers). He loves to work with mission-driven companies of all types.
Theo will eat anything—including duck embryos, snail eggs, and goose barnacles. She believes that behind every “weird” bite is a compelling story. Her passion for introducing people to new foods led to her to work as an Associate Brand Manager at PRE Brands, a grass-fed beef startup. Previously, Theo’s analysis of sales data for an eCommerce startup identified significant new revenue opportunities and led to a fundamental change in business strategy. During her time at the World Bank she oversaw marketing and business development for Latin America. In spite of being the youngest in her department (and the only person without a master’s degree), she designed KPI tracking systems that transformed operations and directly led to $50M in new donor contributions. Through this experience, Theo discovered that she loves helping businesses grow.
While Theo is from Washington, DC, she loves Chicago so much that she holds two degrees from The University of Chicago: an A.B. in Economics and an M.B.A. from the Booth School of Business with concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Strategy, Marketing, and Finance. While in college, Theo interned for Booz Allen Hamilton in France. She continues to hunt for the next “weird” food to try.
As an ethics major from one of the top agriculture and engineering schools in the world (NC State), Lauren has developed a unique passion for food-related work with a purpose. Given the social consequences of food insecurity and the renewed hypersensitivity of consumers when it comes to their food choices, how can we drive growth in a way that doesn’t undermine our core values?
Previously Lauren has worked for Trident Marketing in Raleigh, NC, where she worked on landing page optimization and developing internal linking strategies for SEO. She has worked for her family’s businesses developing social content and following integrated social strategies for local markets in NC. Currently, she manages one of the top bourbon and craft cocktail bars in the country in Chapel Hill, NC, working on business development and social strategies to strengthen local growth and expand regionally.
Forrest is an avid believer that all anyone needs in order to live a happy and fulfilling life is good food and good stories. We humans are social creatures and as such, storytelling is the substance that feeds our internal lives and helps us to connect the world inside our minds to the world around us. Living and working in Brooklyn, Forrest brings his North Carolina roots to the vibrant food scene in New York, developing content that straddles the lines between small-town Southern heritage and urban creativity.
As Content Director, Forrest is dedicated to bringing your story to life in fun and engaging ways. Having worked as a professional line cook in upscale restaurants in Manhattan and for iconic publications such as Martha Stewart Living, Forrest is comfortable in front of and behind the camera and is able to draw from his eclectic background to make sure the best story is told in the best way. You can also find Forrest and his latest recipes and articles at his blog, The Saucy Spork.