2024 ReFED Food Waste Solutions Summit

June 11-13, 2024 | Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Convention Center

Melissa Ackerman

Founder and CEO

Planet Harvest


Melissa Ackerman is the founder and CEO of Planet Harvest, a mission-based company dedicated to revolutionizing the way people enjoy fresh produce. Committed to driving consumption and accessibility, the company focuses on refining supply chains and introducing rescued produce to consumers, all while championing a sustainable future. Planet Harvest actively works to move products into commerce that were historically considered unsaleable through its affiliated distribution network, thereby minimizing the environmental and economic impacts of food losses.

Prior to launching this innovative company, Melissa served as President of Produce Alliance (PA), a leading national produce company specializing in consulting and purchasing of produce in the foodservice sector from field to fork. She proudly created the PA Foundation, a philanthropic organization designed to be a first-line responder delivering necessary nutrition to emergent humanitarian situations, such as hurricanes and floods. She serves on the Advisory Board of Freight Farms and most recently joined the Brighter Bites board, a nonprofit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands. 

With over 14 years of leadership experience in the produce industry, Melissa possesses a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing growers, distributors, retailers, consumers, and healthcare providers. Her passion lies in finding the right balance between doing business and doing good, all the while seeking innovative solutions to improve the quality and accessibility of fresh, nutritious food.


Wednesday, June 12

1:30pm - 2:30pm

Food as Medicine: Reducing Waste for a Healthier Future

Breakout Session 2

Is it possible to harness the power of food as medicine and prioritize nutritional and public health outcomes while simultaneously reducing food waste? In what promises to be an enlightening discussion, we’ll examine the intricate connections between efforts to improve public health and transform our food system. By centering nutritional and public health goals, we'll uncover strategies to optimize food production, value-added processing, distribution, and consumption – all while minimizing waste. Our panel will navigate the complexities of promoting health and sustainability within the food system, offering actionable insights to create a healthier, more resilient future for all.

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