Kathleen A. Merrigan is an expert in food and agriculture, celebrated by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2010. Currently, she serves as the Kelly and Brian Swette Professor in the School of Sustainability and executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. From 2009 to 2013, Merrigan was deputy secretary and COO of the United States Department of Agriculture, where she led efforts to support local food systems. She is known for authoring the law establishing national standards for organic food and the federal definition of sustainable agriculture.
Merrigan is a board member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and a Trustee of CIFOR and ICRAF. She is a partner in Astanor Ventures and an advisor to S2G Ventures, two firms investing in ag-tech innovation. Merrigan holds a PhD in Public Policy and Environmental Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MPA from University of Texas at Austin, and BA from Williams College.