Interview with Mark Abbott

Mark is a father, hedgehog pet-owner, and passionate advocate for sustainable, healthy food.


Q: Who are you? Introduce yourself as you would at a dinner party.

A: I'm a dad, an anthropologist and an entrepreneur with a passion for healthy, locally grown food and youth development/civic engagement.


Q: What is your background? How does it differ from what you are doing now? 

A: I helped launch AmeriCorps back in the day.  I've founded and worked for several youth service corps. I've been a professional grant maker for almost 10 years, both with a private foundation and the U.S. government with a focusing on poverty alleviation, workforce development and service/civic engagement.

Early in my career I worked for a private equity firm, managing an office in Russia and conducting due diligence on potential investments. 


Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I'm working on a start-up social impact venture called FarmRaiser.  We connect farmers and food artisans with causes that want to sell local, healthy products to raise money for their causes. We turn students into ambassadors for eating healthy and eating local.


Q: Why did you join Impact Hub?

A: We joined for the awesome community. Our technology partner has been SeeYourImpact and we are working closely with Slow Money NW (both Impact Hub members). FarmRaiser will launch officially in Seattle in 2015 after having conducted almost a dozen campaigns as local proof points for our concept.


Q: What is something that really excites you right now (a trend, life development, time of year, food, etc.)?

A: I'm fascinated with the potential of ultra high-speed wireless networks that can cover entire cities or communities. We haven't even scratched the surface of the potential for apps to make our lives and communities wealthier and more inclusive.   


Q: You have $10M to spend in the next year, and you can’t spend it on you, your friends or your family. How do you spend it?

A: The possibilities are truly endless. My first thought would be to launch an agriculturally-oriented charter school and accelerator fund to support future generations of sustainability-minded farmers. 


Q: What’s on the horizon for you (a new project, career path, personal development)?

A: We're a funded start-up, which means I live, eat and breathe FarmRaiser.


Q: Where do you usually hang out when you are at Impact Hub? How often are you here?

A: In 2015, I'm going to be at the HUB monthly as we get our new sales team online up and begin marketing FarmRaiser across greater Seattle area.


Q: What is something we don’t know? (Either about you, or something else)

A: I'm the proud dad of two great kids ages 10 and 13 that are true animal lovers.  I also have a hard time saying 'no', which means our family includes two dogs a horse and a hedgehog.  Yes, a hedgehog.  


Q: Give us your top three Seattle gems!

A: I'm not one to ask, but I’d love to hear from others on this...


Contact Mark at [email protected]