“The ASP network—with vastly diversified expertise and approaches—can be a catalyst to help corporations, governments, and the private sector creatively address the most pressing issues of our time through systems-thinking and action.”
I am a fourth-generation agriculture and food entrepreneur and the founder of Karen Karp & Partners (KK&P), based in New York, US, and Lisbon, Portugal.
Before establishing my company in 1990, I attended Parsons School of Design where I graduated with a degree in Fine Arts (1982) and briefly pursued a career as a fine art lithographer at the studio Derrier L’Etoile in New York City. At the same time (and to make ends meet) I continued to work in and grew a trendy Manhattan restaurant group from one to six outlets before setting my sights on entrepreneurship. My company became a platform for me to pursue strategy, innovation, and policy at the intersection points of agriculture, food, health, and society—what’s since been coined “food systems”—through our “Good Food is Good Business” practice area.
Our focus areas are:
- healthy food access (school meals, emergency and supplemental food resources and strategy);
- regional farm and food economies (growing and connecting markets for local foods at scale);
- sustainable supply chains (our corporate work);
- and developing higher education curricula focused on training people for the agriculture and food jobs of the future.
In 2016 I invited my husband, Dick Batten, a corporate Human Resources executive, to join the company and formed our “Good People are Good Business” practice area which focuses on organizational strategy, performance management, and recruiting so that our clients have the best people in the right jobs to take their new strategies and business plans forward.
KK&P is well-known for marrying the common interests of the corporate, government, and philanthropic sectors and most of our projects result in new cross-sector partnerships.
In 2001 I graduated from the University of Bath School of Management’s Responsibility and Business Practice MSc program, earning honors for my thesis, “How Does Food Sustain Us?” which explored how leaders convey and impart their personal food values within their organizations, and how these communities are then transformed through food.
In 2017, in response to a shifting political landscape in the United States, Dick and I established a base in Lisbon, and European projects have focused on supporting entrepreneurship (particularly women’s entrepreneurship) in the emerging agri-foodtech sector. Clients include Lisbon’s Building Global Innovators (BGI), and EIT Food, a European Commission-funded agri-foodtech education, business incubation, acceleration, and investment organization.
The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated—clearly if we choose to see it—that we exist in an inextricably interconnected world, and decisions or actions taken to address or repair one element cannot (and will not) suffice for a sustainable future.
The ASP network—with vastly diversified expertise and approaches—can be a catalyst to help corporations, governments, and the private sector creatively address the most pressing issues of our time through systems-thinking and action.