Alumni Spotlight – Alan Hunt, MEM ’05

Alan Hunt

Local Food Strategies LLC
Owner and Principal

MEM ‘05
Environmental Economics and Policy


As a policy entrepreneur, Alan has formed relationships across sectors, interest groups, and professional disciplines to broaden support for sustainable food systems. He worked in Washington, D.C. for more than five years within national policy alliances to promote local and regional food systems and food access. Local Food Strategies LLC was formed in 2010 and has served the non-profit sector, academia, and industry. His work with policymakers and advocates on promoting local and regional food systems spans two continents.

Alan completed a Ph.D. in Rural Development at Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy in 2013.  His project and forthcoming publications focus on how national-level local food policies developed in the US and the UK over the past two decades. Also, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship during 2010 to 2011.

Previously, he served as a Policy Analyst and Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast Midwest Institute (2005-2009), where he was an assistant to the coordinator of the $5 million Farm and Food Policy Project and later Coordinator to the Project (2008). In this role, he was responsible for implementing the locally and regionally produced food priority in the USDA Rural Business and Industries Loan Guarantee program and the Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center. He also assisted with the development and implementation of the USDA Food Desert Study.

In 2009, he was a Senior Policy Associate at Wallace Center at Winrock International (2009). He was the proposal lead for their successful application for the USDA Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center, a $3 million, three year grant and technical assistance program designed to support market-based approaches to increase healthy food access in low income communities.

Alan grew up on a small farm in rural New Jersey.


“The value of my Nicholas School degree came from being able to understand the language, logic, and methods of economists as applied to policy.  That background in qualitative, quantitative, and statistical analyses prepared me well for my eventual PhD.  Also, it was incredibly important that the Nicholas School allowed for a significant number of electives: classes in Marketing, Creative Non-fiction Writing were essential for developing advocacy skills, a business school course in Non-market Institutions exposed gave me an intellectual grounding in the roles of business and government in society, and two courses at NC State in sustainable agriculture gave the scientific background for sustainable food systems.”