ExplorersBio

Jason Clay

Food and Agriculture Fellow

Fellow

Picture of Jason Clay

Photograph courtesy Jason Clay

Dr. Jason Clay grew up on a farm in Missouri raising animals and tending crops to generate food and income for his family. It was on this farm where he cultivated his interest and passion in conserving planet Earth and its natural resources. This passion has guided him to his current role as senior vice president for market transformation at World Wildlife Fund, working with the world's largest companies to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment.

In this capacity, Clay travels the world as an expert on product certifications and food sustainability. He created one of the world's first eco-labels and has been instrumental in developing more than a dozen of these standards, including certification programs for popular commodities like cotton, sugarcane, and beef. These programs are driving more resource-efficient and responsible production, thereby helping to ensure consumers that the product did not contribute to environmental degradation.

Clay taught at Harvard and Yale before a stint as a social science analyst at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has spent more than 30 years working with environmental and human rights organizations supporting refugees and famine victims in developing regions of the world. He is the author of World Agriculture and the Environment, founded the award-winning Cultural Survival Quarterly, and has written more than 300 articles and 15 books.

In the late 1980s, Clay worked with Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's to create the popular Rainforest Crunch ice cream flavor, in an effort to support indigenous and rubber tapper populations in Brazil.

In addition to his work with WWF, Clay is the first ever food and agriculture fellow of the National Geographic Society. In this role, he will be creating a series of short videos targeted on issues of sustainability. His focus is on teaching young people "how to think, not what to think."

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In Their Words

We live on a planet. There's just one of them. We've got to wake up to the fact that we don't have any more and that this is a finite planet.

—Jason Clay

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    The Power of Connection

    National Geographic Fellow Jason Clay draws on the power of social media to help solve global issues like water scarcity

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