Stephen McDonnell is the founder and CEO of Applegate, a leading producer of organic and natural meat sold throughout the U.S. Since Applegate’s start in 1987, Stephen has been a major proponent of sustainable agricultural and the humane treatment of livestock. His primary focus is on the misuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and its impact on public health. Stephen has spoken on the topic on national television and radio and at Congressional briefings on Capitol Hill. Stephen is also one of the founders of Citizens Against Superbugs, a campaign to raise public awareness about the overuse and misuse of antibiotics on industrial farms.
In recent years, Stephen has funded documentary film as a means to raise public awareness about important issues around food. In 2010 Applegate hosted nationwide screenings of Lunch Line, a documentary outlining the history, challenges and future of the National School Lunch Program. In 2013 he’ll fund the marketing and distribution of Resistance, a documentary about the growing resistance to antibiotics linked to animal agriculture. Stephen has a particular interest in food system innovation and in 2012 sponsored the first in a series of Meat Hackathons – a model for prototyping innovative solutions to challenges in the way meat is produced, processed, distributed, sold and consumed.
Outside of Applegate, Stephen, and his wife, Jill, established the McDonnell Kearney Foundation where they support a variety of initiatives such as the Maasai Cultural Exchange Project, Fonkoze, 5 for Fairness and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Stephen serves on the Board of Directors for Stonyfield and Practically Green.