Food Enterprise Solutions
Business strategies for safe and nutritious food systems
At FES, our mission is to leverage the powers of business, entrepreneurship, and innovation as key drivers in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. Our vision is a world in which all people can access safe, nutritious, and affordable foods through supply chains that are commercially viable and environmentally sustainable. We offer expertise in partnership development, market analysis, project design & management, training, and specialized technical assistance to strengthen capacities of - and linkages among - key actors within food systems. Our team of experts has extensive experience working with food enterprises of all sizes – from village market vendors to major global corporations – across multiple countries and commodities.
Understand the competitive landscape, investment requirements for success, and returns to your business
Plan and execute a course of action to position your business in new markets, negotiate winning partnerships, secure funding, and build your reputation
Entrepreneurship development and skill building in marketing, business management and finance, food safety, global standards and compliance
Our expert team has years of experience managing large-scale projects in food and agriculture and in providing training, coaching, and mentoring to build skill, capacity, and cohesiveness of teams
Meet the FES Team
President and CEO
Russ has a long career promoting the private sector as a key driver for food security and economic growth. His work ranges from designing and managing agriculture research, extension and rural finance programs overseas, to evaluating project impact, to advising international donor agencies and foreign governments on how to structure policy priorities, regulatory frameworks, and programs that mobilize private capital and incentivize economic growth. Russ is passionate about the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises in promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and private investment that will feed the world's population and create wealth for those living in poverty. A solid team player and effective leader, Russ has a proven track record in portfolio management, staff development, client relationship management, public communications, market analysis, and business development.
Senior Technical Advisor
Roberta - shown here with produce transporters in Nigeria at the Lagos "12 Mile Market" - began her career with Peace Corps, serving as a livestock extension agent for the Ministry of Agriculture in Guatemala. This experience fueled her passion for helping farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs—particularly women and youth—improve their business operations, financial viability, and access to markets. With core competencies in production planning and supply chain management in livestock, poultry, vegetables, coffee, and cacao, Roberta has designed and managed agriculture programs that promote rural income and livelihoods in food deficit regions of the world, while contributing to sustainable, safe, and nutritious food systems. She is a certified Veterinary Technician, a fluent Spanish speaker, and has extensive program management expertise with multiple donor organizations, companies, and foundations across 39 countries.
Arielle - seen here with a thriving women-led savings and loan group in the Altiplano of Guatemala - has found the intersection of international development and agriculture as fuel for her career. A Spanish speaker and project manager, Arielle has conducted market research to identify business opportunities around the globe to commercialize innovative technologies that serve smallholder farmers. Arielle's experience includes work in both social impact investing on behalf of government entities and developing public private partnerships with the goal of delivering food security and igniting greater economic growth internationally. Arielle is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Maryland and holds a BS in Applied Economics from the University of Vermont.
Dr. Thoric Nils Cederstrom
Senior Technical Advisor
Thoric - shown at left (in hat) talking with a colleague in Guatemala - is a champion of market-driven approaches to reducing hunger and malnutrition. He is experienced in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that engage public, private, and civil-society institutions and key actors in building sustainable, commercially-viable, safe, and nutritious food systems. A recognized research analyst and program strategist, Thoric’s expertise includes developing cash-based interventions for rural livelihoods, conducting participatory food security assessments, designing stakeholder training and capacity building programs, and conducting anthropometric surveys. From his roots growing up on a family dairy farm in Missouri, Thoric went on to work extensively in Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia. He holds degrees in Development Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Agricultural Economics, and Archaeology, is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and conversational in French.
Business Drivers for
Food Safety (BD4FS)
US Agency for International Development
June 2019 - May 2024
Food-borne pathogens undermine the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people across the globe each year. Poorer populations in emerging economies are at the greatest risk because they typically buy from poorly regulated informal food markets. Inadequate food handling practices and poor infrastructure across post-harvest supply chains also increase health risks to consumers who shop for food in markets and retail outlets of towns and urban areas. In addition to posing significant health risks, these supply-chain factors are root-causes of pre-consumer loss and waste in the overall food system.
Once agricultural products leave the farm, they pass into and through the hands of numerous actors in the overall food system: village vendors, traders, processors, transporters, storage operators, warehouse managers, retailers, and restaurants. Without proper food safety systems, technologies, and practices in place, these actors put the food at risk of contamination, and ultimately the end consumer at risk of illness, or even death.
The Business Drivers for Food Safety Project (BD4FS) will co-design with value-chain actors—micro-, small-, and medium-sized food enterprises—incentive-based strategies to accelerate the adoption of food safety practices into their business operations. BD4FS is a USAID-funded, multi-country effort working alongside stakeholders and local service providers to leverage local knowledge, build sustainable capacities, and promote local ownership. By focusing on the role of local food businesses in improving food safety, the team will add to USAID knowledge base about strategies and methodologies for enterprise-level assistance in food systems strengthening, develop best-practices and lessons learned, and generate success stories from working with entrepreneurs in the effort to improve food safety. Stakeholder engagement will also raise national awareness around the issue of food safety and lay the foundation for the promotion of a “culture of food safety” among all actors in the national food system.
Chief of Party
Beans for Better Nutrition
United States Dry Bean Council (USDBC)
Nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition; undernutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, and delays recovery. The interaction between undernutrition and infection can create a potentially lethal cycle of worsening illness and deteriorating nutritional status. Poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can also lead to stunted growth, which is associated with impaired cognitive ability and reduced school and work performance. Therefore, the promotion of early and exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months is primary, and support with continued breastfeeding through 24 months and longer—in addition to appropriate and timely introduction of adequate and safe complementary foods. Beyond the first 1,000 days, healthy meals and snacks in schools improve children’s health and nutritional well-being, enabling them to grow well and learn well. When combined with nutrition education, school food can directly improve student’s health and nutrition while helping them develop good eating habits.
Accessing affordable, nutritious and safe foods during these crucial growth and development periods in children’s lives is essential to ensure optimal nutrition benefits. Dry beans—a proven source of high-quality plant protein—offer children and adults in vulnerable populations a nutritious and cost effective addition to their food basket. The US Dry Bean Council (USDBC) looks to become a reliable provider of high-quality beans and bean products to the international food aid community in its fight against global malnutrition. As well, the USDBC works with the commercial sector to develop new value-added products, such as instantized, fortified bean flour, that can be stored, transported and ultimately used by populations who need both convenience and low-cost. Dr. Thoric Cederstrom is providing technical support to the USDBC to better understand food assistance programming, how to promote dry beans in US food assistance programs, and to work with various research institutions (Washington University and the Nutrition Institute of Central America and Panama) to develop new, innovative complementary foods that use dry beans as their source of plant-based protein.
Dr. Thoric Cederstrom
Senior Technical Advisor
Agricultural Green Block for Africa
RainTrust’s Agricultural Green Block is a private sector initiative that is closely allied with the Great Green Wall of Africa Initiative headed by the African Union Commission. This initiative subscribes to the post Paris 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change agreement of establishing a 100 thousand square kilometer "greenification" zone—African Forests and Landscapes (AFR100) “greenification” (carbon sequestration) commitment of the New Economic Plan for African Development (NEPAD) and its partner NGOs (non-governmental organizations). AGB has twelve initial focus countries and seven commodities, like sesame, cacao, coffee, shea butter, etc. These commodities are produced, primarily, by small-holder farmers and transhumant herders. AGB’s incentive system focuses on increasing each cubic meter (m3) of the soil organic matter, not only to “carbon sponge” more water runoff, but also to provide the sustainable soil fertility for increasing organic yields - all of which will contribute to sequestering 10% of the excess carbon dioxide out of the planet’s atmosphere. Roberta’s conceptualization and strategy work with AGB has resulted in bringing key producers groups and suppliers in coffee, cacao and cold chain actors in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. AGB has also benefited from Roberta’s technical assistance in supply chain management for theses producer cooperatives, and preparing the groups to access markets in the U.S., U.K. and China.
Senior Technical Advisor