The NGFN database has many terrific consultants for training and technical assistance. Here's one you should get to know.
Changing Tastes is a for-profit consultancy based in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Founded by Arlin Wasserman in 2003, Changing Tastes has helped clients achieve greater success by understanding and finding opportunities at the intersection of four key trends affecting the food and agriculture sector: public health, environmental sustainability, the changing role of the culinary profession, and demographics.
Changing Tastes has worked over the past nine years to help advance the efforts of food service operators, food producers, charitable organizations and public agencies by providing consulting services to accelerate and increase the success of our clients and partners. Our team brings more than two decades of work in local food systems, community development, evaluation and business planning as well as a unique set of skills and experience gained from our work with small farmers, local and national nonprofit organizations and campaigns, foundations, government agencies, school food service operations, Fortune 100 and start-up food companies.
The firm’s strategy, marketing and innovation services have supported the work of stakeholders in each of the key segments working to create a more sustainable food system:
- Government agencies responsible for planning investment and policy making
- Private philanthropic organizations promoting a more sustainable food system
- Academic institutions working to extend research into technical assistance to the sector
- Existing businesses and trade associations looking to achieve greater business success by innovating and delivering healthier and more sustainable food products and services.
- Social ventures looking to demonstrate and scale new models for delivering local, healthy and sustainable food.
Changing Tastes work to integrate social, environmental and health considerations into a single set of planning and innovation tools have been part of several major shifts in the U.S. food and agriculture marketplace. These shifts include the repositioning of the organic and natural food industry around personal health benefits, campaigns to develop an emerging consumer preferences that favor the place where food is produced over brand, a new approach to land grant research that connects farming, fishing and water quality issues, and the recent wave of new social venture incubators that create food companies with a purpose.
Arlin is a partner at Changing Tastes, a firm he founded in 2003. He is also a fellow at the Aspen Institute and a past recipient of a Food and Society Policy Fellowship, awarded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Arlin holds masters degrees in Natural Resource Sciences and Public Health and has served as an advisor on agriculture, trade and development issues to both the US Department of Agriculture and the European Union Parliament. From 2007 until 2012, Arlin served as Vice President of Sustainability at Sodexo, leading it’s efforts to develop and implement it’s first sustainability strategy encompassing both environment and public health concerns.
Cynthia is CEO and principal partner at Changing Tastes. Her areas of practice include sustainability planning and policy, strategic planning, facilitation, organizational management, community organizing, communications, evaluation, and fundraising. Cynthia has worked with farmers, business associations, corporations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, universities and communities to identify and develop sustainable solutions. She holds Masters degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles in environmental planning and anthropology. Cynthia is a recipient of both a Policy Fellowship from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute and a Donella Meadows Leadership Fellowship from Vermont’s Sustainability Institute.