Michelle Grant is a food systems and sustainability professional who has worked at the interface of research, education and practice for more than 15 years. She was the founding Executive Director of the World Food System Center at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), establishing and growing the organization from 2011-2017. Since 2018 she continues as Faculty and Education Director. The World Food System Center is a centre of excellence that tackles complex food system challenges through novel research across disciplines, training the next generation of decision makers and engaging stakeholders from different sectors in dialogue and collaboration. Under Michelle’s leadership, the Center established more than 30 research projects and awarded 2.2 million AUD in competitive research funding each year. This supported projects that offer solutions to challenges such as reducing food waste, creating more sustainable proteins, building food system resilience and supporting greater diversity in our production systems.
Throughout her career, Michelle has been committed to educating and cultivating young leaders. In current and previous roles, she has designed and implemented new university education programs on sustainability and food systems in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa – training nearly a thousand graduates and young professionals and helping them to build the knowledge and skills needed to lead positive change in the world.
Michelle recently established The Great Full, a platform that supports individuals and organizations to contribute to personal, societal and environmental wellbeing thorough intentional eating, living and leading. In fall 2019, her cookbook on sustainable food systems will be published, helping readers explore how what we eat impacts ourselves, others and the planet and how we can play a role in contributing to positive change.
Michelle studied environmental engineering at the University of Queensland and management, technology and economics at ETH Zurich. Her work in food systems and sustainability saw her awarded the 2017 University of Queensland Distinguished Young Alumni Award. In 2016 she was nominated by the Swiss government to serve in the Swiss National Committee of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, advising national and international policy on food systems and food security.
Michelle is originally from Australia but now lives in Zurich, Switzerland. She is a certified advanced yoga and meditation teacher and leadership coach. In her free time, she runs a charity yoga platform that offers classes on a donation base to raise money for trauma therapy for Syrian refugees.