Cynthia Pansing

Cynthia Pansing is Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) Executive Director. For more than 20 years, she has brought strategic direction to nonprofit and public organizations working on food systems and sustainable agriculture in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the US for more than 20 years. She is guiding BAV’s investment in food and agricultural entrepreneurs and enterprises to forge a stronger and resilient food and farming system and enhance food security in the Berkshire region.

Over the course of her professional life, Cynthia has gained respect for her leadership in developing and implementing cutting-edge food systems and sustainable development programs and projects in collaboration with a wide range of organizations. In so doing, she has worked with farmers, business associations, food businesses, foundations, nonprofit organizations, planners, designers, government agencies, universities and communities to identify and develop sustainable strategies.

Cynthia served for over a decade as principal partner and later CEO of Changing Tastes, a national consulting firm. Clients have recently included the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the National Farm to School Network, the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a partnership of five North American cities – San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and Vancouver – under the aegis of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Surdna and Summit Foundations.

To help the five city partnership shift more investment into local food systems, Cynthia led the creation of A Roadmap for City Food Sector Innovation and Investment, a nationally recognized report that offers new tools to guide city planning and economic development around food and agriculture.  Most recently, with the Wallace Center and Common Market, she co-led and coauthored From the Ground Up: Inspiring Community-based Food System Innovations, a national food scan for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Cynthia holds BA and MA degrees in Anthropology and an MA in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Her work has been featured in Science, the New York Times and the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Record, among other publications.  In addition to the Sustainability Leaders Network, Cynthia is a former Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a former Policy Fellow with the University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey Institute.

Cynthia lives with her daughter in West Stockbridge, MA.


Selected Publications
With colleagues at Changing Tastes and the Wallace Center at Winrock Internetional, Cynthia and Fellow John Fisk published three related resources on the North American Food Sector: Program Scan and Literature ReviewRoadmap for City Food Sector Innovation and Investment, and Roadmap Investment Evaluation Tool in July 2013. The publications accompanied a webinar on the same topic.