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Stanford Food Summit: The Latest Research on Plant-Based Solutions for Health and Sustainability

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This event is over.

Restricted to: Stanford faculty, students, and researchers and thought-leaders from the general public

Online registration is now closed. Though our lunch reservations are full, we still have some availability for other sessions. We invite you to register in person at the event for any remaining spots.

Event Details:

Welcome to the 2023 Stanford Food Summit! Hosted by Stanford Medicine’s Plant-Based Diet Initiative, this day-long conference brings together Stanford researchers to collaborate in creating a more healthful and sustainable world.

The day includes:

  • Keynote: Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat

  • Stanford Plant-Based Diet Initiative seed grant research presentations

  • Expert panelists from across Stanford schools

  • Plant-based lunch and snacks

  • Networking mixers

  • Funding opportunities

  • Breakout sessions

Topics: microbiome, food as medicine, teaching kitchens, seed grant funding opportunities, menus for health and sustainability, healthy school lunches, food and nutrition security, nutrition science, food systems, entrepreneurship, public policy, Stanford research, and more.

Come all day or for a la cart events including

Tentative Schedule Subject to Change

8:00am     Coffee, registration, mingling
8:45am     Opening remarks
9:00am     Ethan Brown keynote speech
9:30am     Plant-Based Diet Initiative Seed Grant Award Winners and Their Research
10:20am   Open Mic
11:00am   Food As Medicine Panel Discussion
12:00pm   Open Mic
12:10pm   Plant-Based Lunch

1:30pm     Microbiome Panel Discussion
2:20pm     Open Mic

2:30pm     Networking    
3:00pm     Breakout working group sessions with experts
4:00pm     Networking, plant-based snacks, drinks

Event Parking

Please allow at least 5 minutes to walk from your car to the Alumni Center.
If you are a Stanford affiliate, and you already have an A or C parking permit, we suggest you park in either the Track House Lot or Varsity Lot. If you do not have a parking permit, you can purchase a daily C permit from the Online Ordering Portal on the transportation website for $5.45.

If you are from the general public, please purchase a parking permit and park in the Galvez Parking Lot at the corner of Galvez Street and Campus Drive (Map). Parking permits are a flat rate of $8 for the day. You must register and pay in advance (or from the parking lot using your smartphone; there are no parking kiosks for payment). Use this link to register.

The gate arms of the Galvez Parking Lot will open at 7:30am and close at 4pm. Once the gate arms are closed, cars will not be able to enter the lot, but those already parked will be able to exit. There are sensors at the exits that will open the gate arms to allow cars to exit.

Event Descriptions

Keynote Speaker - Ethan Brown, Founder and CEO of Beyond Meat
Ethan Brown was convinced that a change in the origin of the protein that we place at the center of our plates—from animals to plants—could simultaneously address human health, climate, natural resource, and animal welfare challenges. In 2009, he founded Beyond Meat. As of September 2022, the company sold products at approximately 188,000 retail and foodservice outlets in over 85 countries worldwide.

Stanford Plant-Based Diet Initiative (PBDI) Seed Grant Award Winners
10 plant-based research projects at Stanford that were funded by PBDI present either their research outcomes, or their ongoing or upcoming projects. Learn more about
how to get funded here as well as at the conference.

Food Is Medicine
This emerging topic was featured at the White House Food and Nutrition Conference on Health and Hunger. The American Heart Association, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation has pledged substantial funds to address this in a major clinical trial over next 10 years. Stanford is likely to play a major role.

Expand our exploration of the connection between diet, the gut microbiome, and inflammation/immune function with Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, other Stanford faculty and all-star early career investigators.

University Food: Menus of Change University Research Collaborative
Stanford and the Culinary Institute of America along with 70 other universities in the U.S. and abroad are developing research programs and projects with chefs and dining halls as part of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MC-URC). This breakout session will be led by Charlie Hoffs (co-term Stanford grad student) and Dr. Matt Landry (Stanford postdoctoral research fellow), both of whom have published MC-URC research papers in collaboration with other MC-URC schools.

Teaching Kitchens: Stanford Chefs Teaching Students and Physicians
Leaders from teaching kitchens across Stanford's schools (Medicine, Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises, the Farm) collaborate to create synergy and impact on health and sustainability. Drs and chefs Michelle Hauser and Julia Nordgren will be featured, as will Chef Terry Bragg from Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises.

Blue Foods: Sustainable Ocean Food Systems
Our food systems are one of the biggest contributors to global warming and other environmental emergencies. Jim Leape, Co-Director of the Center of Ocean Solutions, and experts from the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability lead the path forward, including an initiative to expand the possibilities of Blue Food. Michelle Tigchelaar and Zach Koehn will join in leading the discussion.

Hospital Food: Reimagining Hospital Food for Health and Sustainability
Jesse Cool (Flea Street Café) and
Helen Wirth (Executive Director, Sustainability & Hospitality Services, Stanford Health Care) have been working for many years to reimagine hospital food. Joined by several colleagues, they will update us on how far they have come and where they are going.

K-12 Food: Healthy Childhood Nutrition
This part of the program will be led by Nora LaTorre, CEO of
Eat Real, a nonprofit organization currently working with hundreds of school districts across the country, particularly in California, on improving school lunch programs. She’ll be joined by Miguel Villarreal (Co-Executive Director, National Farm to School Network) and Michael Joechner (Food Service Director, Morgan Hill Unified School District). Possibility for many Stanford research partnerships across different schools and departments.

Open Mic
To help with networking, we will offer several opportunities during the event for individuals or groups to address the audience with what they have to offer and what they are looking for.

The 2023 Stanford Food Summit is hosted by the Plant-Based Diet Initiative (PBDI), a research unit of Stanford Medicine made possible through generous funding by Beyond Meat. For more information about research projects and how to apply for seed grants for pant-based diet research, please visit