Education for Sustainable Living Program Lecture Series

Featuring Zak Zaidman & Mary Baldwin

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Young CS76

Zak Zaidman is the co-founder and CEO of Kopali Organics, a brand of incredibly luscious, perfectly rich, pure dark chocolate and fruit treats crafted entirely at the point-of-origin of the cacao. Certified organic and fair trade, Kopali’s chocolates are every bit as important as they are delicious. Motivated by a deep purpose and guided by a clear strategy, Kopali’s chocolate sweetness has already managed to reach, delight and inspire millions of fans while helping to support thousands of farmers who in turn care for ecosystems that support all life. This is a dream come true for Zak whose ultimate vision is harnessing the power of enlightened commerce to help create a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world for all.

Raised in Mexico City, Zak’s fascination with philosophy and science led him first to a Cognitive NSF fellowship at UC Berkeley. Zak’s experience with cancer in his mid twenties led him to seek a more purpose-driven and sustainable life. He left academia to start Gravity, a virtual reality software company with clients including IBM, Disney, and Intel. After selling Gravity to Frog Design in 2001, Zak started leading meditation groups in its conference rooms before leading international interfaith delegations to India and the Middle East. Bringing it all back down to earth, Zak then drove a vegetable-oil-powered bus from the Bioneers conference in Richmond, California to the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, promoting sustainability to millions. Zak founded Kopali with his partners while living and farming on their off-the-grid educational farm and sustainability center there in the rainforest, where he also studied permaculture. Although often still on the move, from NYC to California, and down to Kopali Chocolates’ point of origin in South America, these days you will mostly spot Zak sharing Kopali goodness all around Los Angeles, California where he lives with his wife Monica. Zak still teaches meditation and also loves writing songs, hiking, surfing, and finding reasons to be optimistic about humanity’s future.

Mary Baldwin, Farmers Market Recovery Program Manager, joins the Food Forward team from GOOD Worldwide, a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward, where she focused on aligning business strategy with social impact. Mary’s interest in gleaning began at an early age: growing up her family had two over-yielding apple trees which caused great angst to her 8-year old self. Continuous rotten apple clean up was standing between her and playtime. She decided to turn the family garden into a community co-op and sold the excess. When she isn’t cleaning up apples, she is volunteering with the Garden Science Program at Carthay Center Elementary School and at Thomas King Starr Middle School, and also works with Silver Lake Farms growing, arranging, and selling bouquets.