By: Karen Karp
Like many small businesses, Karen Karp started the company at her dining room table. In her case, it was in a small house on the edge of Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. By 1990, Karen had a lot of food experience under her belt: 14 years working in restaurants, 10 of them as a manager or general manager; catering (the worst job in food service says Karen); and working in specialty food retail, in the smoked fish department at Dean & DeLuca in the mid-1980s (appropriate given Karen’s last name). At the age of 30, she didn’t think twice about starting a business, even as a recession loomed: Karen is a 4th generation entrepreneur in agriculture and food.
Over the past three decades, Karen Karp & Partners (formerly known as Karp Resources) has continuously evolved: first, to best apply the founder’s knowledge and expertise, and, later, to meet the growing needs of the marketplace, which led to an expansion of the team.
In the last 20 years, we have become national experts in the fields of healthy food access, regional food economies, supply chain sustainability, and the design and implementation of cutting-edge education and event programming. Sixteen years ago, we saw a particular need among our clients and added a practice area in organizational effectiveness: recruiting and developing people and organizations to best meet the most critical challenges in food, health, and agriculture. This practice area became our Good People division and complements our Good Food work.
We are proud to have made it to our 30th anniversary. But what is most important to us, as it has always been, is that we exist because we provide critical support and guidance to our clients. It’s these amazing organizations and their missions that get us up in the morning, running that extra mile, today, for the last 30 years, and into the future, which constantly brings challenges and opportunities.
Over the coming year, we will use our newsletter and social media to reflect on our first 30 years, but we are not sentimentalists. We’ll be examining our body of food systems work as a way to establish a framework and springboard for continuing to address the most pressing issues of our times through agriculture, food and health innovation, policy, and business. Let’s get to work.