Ari Derfel is an entrepreneur, activist, organic chef, mountain guide and public speaker. His academic career includes the University of Wisconsin, Harvard, Georgetown, UCLA & Cambridge. In 2001 he and his business partner Eric Fenster founded Back to Earth Outdoors which grew into Back to Earth Organic Catering, and finally Gather Restaurant.

Ari spent two years, from 2008-2010 building Gather Restaurant at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. The David Brower Center houses environmental and social justice non-profits and triple bottom line enterprises.

In June 2010, Ari Derfel accepted appointment as Executive Director of Slow Money. Slow Money’s mission is to build local and national networks, and develop new financial products and services, dedicated to:
* investing in small food enterprises and local food systems;
* connecting investors to their local economies; and,
* building the nurture capital industry.

In addition to all of the above endeavors, Ari is also known as “The Trash Guy”. In 2008 he received international attention for his reality challenging project of saving every single piece of his trash for an entire year during 2007. The SF Chronicle broke the story on December 30th, and by New Year’s day the story had spread around the world. Ari appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC and the discovery channel produced a segment on his project for “The G Word” on Planet Green. In addition, the story was covered in newspapers and magazines around the world as well as radio and podcasts.

For Ari the project was simply a meditation – a personal experiment that provided him with an opportunity to deeply reflect on what he consumes, what he puts into his body, how he spends his money, and the role he plays in the never-ending lifecycle of “stuff”.

Ari’s Specialties

Sustainability and green business; entrepreneurship; natural capitalism; visioning and strategic planning; local and organic food; food politics and economics; food justice; social justice; consumerism and waste; natural history; survival skills; backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, tele skiing, kayaking; wilderness first aid