Request A Keynote Speaker

Award winning World Food Prize nominee and CNN Hero Gary Oppenheimer

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, winner of the Russell Berrie Foundation’s “Making A Difference” award, Glynwood’s “Wave of the Future” award, Elfenworks “In Harmony With Hope” award, a Purpose Prize Fellow, and Echoing Green semifinalist.

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 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.



Contact Information

Gary is available for keynote speaking engagements and panel discussions, and also includes a free colloquium to a nearby college or university with the engagement.

Please contact A-Speakers bureau, All American Speakers agency  or for more information.

Special Offer 

When hired for corporate talks, Gary Oppenheimer donates a free colloquium to help students learn about making their dreams for a better world, come true, to a nearby college or university. Have him speak at your event, and then get the PR benefit of sponsoring his talk a nearby school. You get two engagements for the cost of one! 


The Power of One – How an aging geek changed a food network
An inspirational look at how people with ideas and passion can make changes that ripple across the world. Key takeaway: You can do the impossible if you first believe it isn’t.
Audience: Universities, corporate events, general public

Innovative Solutions, Innovative Metrics
How innovative changes call for a new way of measuring success – or failure.
Audience:  corporate events, think tanks, universities

People of Faith Responding To Food Waste
A look at Food Waste Weekend – how a small non-profit has clergy of all faiths across America learning about and then giving sermons on food waste – each from their own faith perspective. 
Audience: Faith community

Food Waste Costing More Than You Thought
Half of  the produce in America (including 11 billion pounds of locally grown fresh food) is never consumed. Learn the costs of food waste and some of the simple sustainable solutions to the problem.
Audience: General public, gardeners – No Food Left Behind
Challenges encountered by great ideas and innovations in the non-profit realm and why we should welcome risking success.
Audience: Philanthropic groups, investors, government

America’s Food Safety Net – How We Fight Hunger With One Hand Tied Behind Our Back
While 42 million Americans grow more food in their garden than they can use, preserve or give to friends,  50 million Americans nationwide are food insecure. A new disruptive solution enables people to reach into their backyard instead of their back pocket to help end hunger.
Audience:  Gardeners, farmers, general public


  • “Gary Oppenheimer is an example of a bold, decisive actor who with focus and creativity, has accomplished something quite remarkable.” (Hazon Food Conference)
  • “I had numerous conversations with guests about how you inspired them to scale their ideas and think creatively about how to create lasting change in the world.” (From a conference manager):
  • “Your words inspired me.” -K. Robinson – George Washington Carver Centenial Series
  • “That was a nice talk, an eye opener. -S. Fall – George Washington Carver Centenial Series
  • Our Community Partners continue to buzz about your presentation…there has been a true enthusiasm among them to do more for the communities, including introducing fresh produce. This is very exciting and we have you to thank for creating the buzz! -A. Wilcox – Orange County Food Bank
  • “I remember you and the powerful speech you delivered. -A Asbogun – Tuskegee University
  • “…your presentation was a clear highlight for many of our students” M. Weinstein – U of Maryland
  • “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

Additional Background Information about Gary Oppenheimer

After graduating from college with a degree in psychology, Gary promptly lost all interest in the field and instead became one of the early geeks in the personal computing arena (he soldered a computer together in 1976 – he still has it but is now afraid to now power it up) and designed a prototype email program for a mini-computer in 1977.

An early pioneer in the electronic mail industry, MCI Inc. asked Gary in 1985 to help them sell and support the then fledgling MCI Mail electronic mail service. Within a few years, he became their largest global sales agent (including producing what is believe to be the first “ezine” – published from 1985 to 1996) – while working from a home office located on the boat.

In the early 2000’s after buying a home deep in the woods in a rural northern New Jersey and planting an orchard and garden, Gary realized he actually needed to learn how to grow things and became a Master Gardener. A year later, he completed the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program.

Over the next several years, he expanded his home gardens, became a lecturer, an environmental commissioner in his town, advocated for region wide watershed preservation laws and became the director of a community garden.

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 effort to enable America’s 40+ million home gardeners who grow food to be able to easily find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden bounty.

Gary has also presented to USDA People’s Garden Initiative Conference in Washington DC, hosted a webinar for 100,000 invited USDA employees on gardening and hunger and has been interviewed numerous time by both print and electronic (local and network) media outlets nationwide.

In addition to helping continue its expansion to food pantries and gardeners nationwide, Gary also does public speaking about hunger and , individuals making a difference in their community as well as a variety of environmental topics ( for more speaker information).

More Than me” (by Kelly Eldredge, published 2010), a book on “people reaching out to help others and in turn experiencing beautiful and unexpected changes of their own” has an entire chapter on Gary and his creation of

Supporting the increasing interest younger people are placing on reducing food waste and related health issues, Gary has accepted a position on the Board of Visitors for the Campus Kitchen Project as well as acting as an advisor to the Food Recovery Network.



These high resolution photographs of founder Gary Oppenheimer are available for use with print and electronic articles/stories about Any other use of these images is prohibited without prior written consent from, Inc. Please contact for more information.

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Audience Tweets


Sampling of Past Talks


TED Talk: TEDx Manhattan
TED Talk: TEDx Lancaster



Keynote Speech at awards ceremony
Keynote in Omaha NE



University Talk: Hubbard Sustainability Series
Google Tech Talk Talk
Temple University


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