We are excited to announce the Thursday keynote speaker for September’s Midwest Food Recovery Summit - Mindy Stinner, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Conservators Center in NC. Mindy Stinner“I've been to many conferences focusing on food waste reduction, recovery and recycling. I've never heard someone speak about feeding lions, tigers and other carnivore species by utilizing food that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill,” says Jenny Trent, agenda planning lead for the summit. “After speaking with Mindy, it was evident to me that her passion runs deep and that she isn't like some of the folks I've had discussion with about food waste. Mindy and her organization, the Conservators Center, are outstanding, thrilling, and innovative.”

Stinner’s professional background began after graduating from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill when she worked as an English teacher and began volunteering at a facility with a focus on carnivore species. Then in 1999, she co-founded the Conservators Center with Douglas Evans. They chose to found the Conservators Center with a mission to help the public learn about carnivore species in the most effective way, by ensuring a personal encounter and connection to the animals through individualized experiences in a way that differentiates the Center from other facilities.

During the Center’s early years, Mindy was the animal keeper, office manager, networker, construction worker and guiding force. Today, other than standard executive duties, Mindy’s role includes assessing and addressing proposed legislation and changes in regulatory policy that may impact the Center, and ensuring the Center’s compliance. She represents the Center at zoological industry conferences and emergency management planning and training sessions, and gives presentations to other organizations on topics including husbandry best practices, managing the media, and legislative/regulatory oversight in the zoological industry.

Outside the Center, Mindy serves as the Vice President of the Feline Conservation Federation, and the primary instructor and revisionist for the FCF Wild Felid Husbandry Course. She received a lifetime achievement award from the FCF in 2010. She also maintains professional memberships in several trade organizations.

Trent continues, “I'm really looking forward to hearing about how the Conservators Center was founded and how Mindy began feeding her animals by making connections with commercial entities to collect the food they normally throw away. Mindy is also interested in making connections with farmers to utilize expired animals as feed for the Conservators Center, which has many challenges and roadblocks to overcome. I'm so excited to hear Mindy's presentation - who can resist lions and tigers and binturongs?” Yes, binturongs.

Check out the Midwest Food Recovery Summit agenda to learn more about Mindy's presentation and see the speaker line-up. 

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