Gary Oppenheimer

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Nationally recognized game changer in the landscape of food waste, hunger and disruptive innovations available for keynote speeches and panel discussions. Gary Oppenheimer, a CNN Hero, a World Food Prize nominee, Points of Light winner, lecturer and speaker (including two TEDx talks) plus a Google Tech Talk, Huff Post “ 2011 Game Changer” and “Greatest Person of the Day“, James Beard Foundation Food Waste Advisory Board member, and more. He is also founder of and 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 a Master Gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, former community garden director, former Environmental Commissioner in northern New Jersey, dancer, avid gardener and long distance cyclist. An early pioneer in the electronic mail, produced what is believe to be the first “ezine” – published from 1985 to 1996 – while working from a home office located on the boat. 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 – a nationwide program enabling America’s 42 million home and community gardeners to donate their bounty to thousands of food pantries nationwide. 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 interviews and his work has been the subject of countless blogs and newspaper articles. Because 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 in a speech in early 2012. He also enjoys boating, hiking, farming (chickens for eggs and vegetables) and attacking challenges of all sorts. He is a firm believer in the notion that to do the impossible, you must first believe it isn’t.

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Gary Oppenheimer is an example of a bold, decisive actor who with focus and creativity, has accomplished something quite remarkable.

Hazon Food Food Conference

Your words inspired me.

K. Robinson — George Washington Carver Centennial Series

It was an inspiring presentation which had quite an impact on those present. You demonstrate how one person can make a huge difference, and are yourself a Renaissance Man who is changing the world. Thank you for inspiring us to think critically about problems, to take action to solve the hunger problem.

M. Stanish — Montclair State University

Thank you again for a wonderful presentation! The Chairs presents at the meeting highly praised both the content and delivery of your presentation.

Chairperson for US Government Food Drive (Feds Feed Families)
  • What is your favorite quote? To do the impossible, you must first believe it isn't.
  • Are there any moments that stand out as having a significant impact on your career? Yes. See the opening of my TED talk at to see it in person.
  • Outside of your profession do you have any hobbies/interests? Dancer, long distance cyclist, gardening/farming, hiking, and time in the hammock. Also, my NYC home is on a boat.
  • Who do you look up to as a mentor and why? My entire family that immigrated here and learn how to prosper in a new world by relying the strength they brought from the old world.
  • Is there anything else we should know about you? When I give a keynote speech, I also donate a colloquium to a local college. ALSO... my speaker fees are paid as tax deductible donation to - they are not paid to me directl