Gabe Goldthwaite (2005)

Building Community with Great Food

From curry to sliders to crème brûlée, San Francisco's food trucks offer diners on-the-go delicious and affordable lunchtime options. They are also at the epicenter of a movement that brings together sustainability, community, and economic empowerment.

The city's largest operation, Off the Grid, describes itself as "a roaming mobile food extravaganza with free sides of music, craft, and soul." There you will find alum Gabe Goldthwaite (SFWS '05), whose Off the Grid work has ranged from event production to permitting to his current role in corporate catering sales management.

"We find corners of the urban landscape that are not as vibrant as they could be," said Gabe. "Then we bring the food that creates opportunities for exciting human engagement and a unique social experience."

Launched in 2010, Off the Grid operates forty-five weekly public markets throughout the Bay Area and works with hundreds of vendors each week in dozens of Bay Area locations. It also hosts about 7,000 people every Sunday in the Presidio and is working to connect the tech community and its resources with small, independent food entrepreneurs.

In addition to his Off the Grid career, Gabe is a graduate student in business administration. The Presidio Graduate Program integrates traditional MBA coursework with ecological and social awareness, systems thinking, and sustainable leadership. Gabe notes: "I see an emphasis on emotional intelligence as well as critical thinking in this program, which is exciting because these are skills that I learned at San Francisco Waldorf School." Gabe also credits SFWS with giving him valuable skills in working with groups of people "and this seems to be the number one skill required no matter where you are in business."

Gabe completed undergraduate studies at Oberlin College (a place he calls very "Waldorf aware"), focusing on environmental studies and biology. He feels San Francisco Waldorf School provided him with a solid academic foundation and launching pad for entrepreneurial success. "I studied with a lot of smart kids at Oberlin, including other Waldorf students from around the world. I was prepared to absorb the material and to work with students with different skill sets and learning styles. I think Waldorf really equipped us to be engaged world citizens."

Gabe notes the strength of the school's hands-on science program and its handwork program. Skills like knitting epitomize the alternative values and skill sets that he feels sets the education apart. "When I think about my education, I always come back to the knitting. It is a metaphor for building an interconnected web. It uses the hands, but takes focus and intelligence. A meeting of cognitive skill and physical dexterity, it's gotta be good for the brain!"

The dedication of SFWS teachers stands out for Gabe: he recalls fondly his kindergarten years with Monique Grund and Dagmar Eisele, and Class Teachers Joan Caldarera and Susan Cook. Gabe has maintained strong friendships with his SF Waldorf High School classmates and notes the benefits of strong community and the shared unique experience. He recently took on the role of class alumni liaison, part of an expanded alumni program at San Francisco Waldorf School.

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Alumni Profiles