is an impassioned food revolutionary, author, public speaker, facilitator, father, dancer, movement builder and transformational social change leader. Co-founder and CEO of the 500,000+ member Food Revolution Network
, one of the largest communities of healthy eating advocates on the planet, Ocean is author of 31-Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World
He has held hundreds of live seminars and events that have touched millions of lives in 190 nations. He is on a mission to transform the industrialized food culture into one that celebrates and supports healthy people and a healthy planet.
Ocean’s work focuses on the two fronts of advancing public policy and speaking directly to people about choosing healthy eating habits. He inspires people to look at how their food choices can make a lasting difference in the world, believing strongly that, “We are everyday food revolutionaries with our knives and forks.” He is passionate about real, healthy, fair trade, natural, sustainable, local, plant-strong and delicious food.
Ocean’s family’s story is an amazing story of health and transformation. His grandfather, Irvine Robbins, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (31 flavors) ice cream. His father, John Robbins, grew up swimming in an ice-cream-cone-shaped swimming pool and being groomed to join the family company. When John was in his twenties, John’s uncle who had co-founded Baskin-Robbins with Irvine, suffered a heart attack and died in his early fifties. So John decided that he couldn’t spend his life working for a company that could contribute to making people sick, contributing to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. John walked away from the company and the family wealth. The family says that John followed his own “rocky road”.
So Ocean’s father John moved to an island off the coast of Canada with his wife (Ocean’s mother) Deo, where they built a one-room log cabin. This is where Ocean was born and spent his first ten years. His parents lived simply, grew most of their own food, living on less than $500 per year, and practiced yoga and meditation for several hours every day.
In 1984 Ocean’s family moved to California where John began work on his bestseller, Diet for a New America,
and became a renowned health advocate. At a young age Ocean started running marathons with his father.
When Ocean’s grandfather became ill with heart disease, diabetes and other health problems, his doctor recommended that he read and follow the advice in his son John’s book. Irvine Robbins, the founder of an ice cream empire, started to follow his son’s advice, which included giving up ice cream, and lived another 18 healthy years.
If Ocean’s grandfather could give up ice cream, Ocean thinks there’s hope for the rest of us. His own family has witnessed the powerful impact that healthy eating can have on our ability to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. He sees his father as an example of what can happen when we truly follow and stand for our values, when we walk our walk.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Ocean was inspired from a young age to reach out to his own generation, making his own indelible mark on the world. But his commitment was not without challenges, as he often felt disconnected from the people around him, including his peers, because of his strong stance on not eating animals. He learned compassion at a turning point in his young life when his father helped him to explore what it means to be true to one’s integrity and passion in a way that is congruent with all of humanity, with people wherever they may be on their path. His father taught him that all people and all choices deserve to be listened to, to be respected, and to be loved. John quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to his young son to drive home this message: “You have no moral authority with those who can feel your underlying contempt.”
Since that turning point he has pondered what it means to release contempt and to stand with compassion for all life.
As Ocean became aware that the American way of eating was being exported around the world at a heavy cost to the health of people around the world and to the planet, he joined forces directly with his father to launch The Food Revolution Network. Ocean explains that a “revolution” is needed because there is no longer time for a little less toxic food, stating that “our modern food system is financially profitable for a few but has become morally bankrupt.” It is contributing to illnesses in epidemic proportion, is cruel to farm workers and animals, and is unsustainable for the planet and lethal to millions of people.
Ocean’s efforts on behalf of a better world have been honored by the Giraffe Project (for people who stick their necks out for what they believe in), the National Alliance for Animals (The Compassionate Youth Award), EarthSave (Volunteer of the Year Award), the Freedom’s Flame Award, the national Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Younger, and the Harmon Wilkinson Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Social Sciences. .Both Time
magazines chose him as among the heroes of the new millennium.
Ocean has mentored and learned from some of the world’s most inspiring change makers. His earlier published books include: Choices for Our Future: A Generation Rising for Life on Earth
(1994), The Power of Partnership: Building Healthy Bridges Across Historic Divides
(2009), and Voices of the Food Revolution
(2013, co-authored with his father John Robbins). For every new copy that is sold of his latest book, 31 Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World
, he has pledged to donate to Trees for the Future
so that they can plant an organic fruit or nut tree in a low-income community.
Ocean has served on the Board of Directors of Friends of the Earth, Creating Our Future, and EarthSave International. He is a founding member of the Turning Tide Coalition, co-founder of the Leveraging Privilege for Social Change program, and a founding convener of Leverage Alliance, both of which convene privileged young leaders and support them in their commitment to positive social impact. He and his father provide a forum for leading health and nutrition experts to reach hundreds of thousands of individuals through the Food Revolution Summit
Ocean is a living embodiment of his message to the world: “When you bring any area of your life into alignment with your values, your life takes on a potency, and a beauty, that you never could previously have imagined.”
Five Questions with Ocean Robbins
What Makes You Come Alive?
I love bringing vitality, values, and love back into our relationship with food. I love shutting down factory farms and helping more kids to live free from diabetes and obesity. I love helping people to be happy, thin and free. I love helping to build a world with more clean air, abundant topsoil, and a more stable climate for future generations. I love sharing truth, and empowering positive action.
Pivotal turning point in your life?
My grandpa founded Baskin-Robbins. My dad walked away from the family company to follow his own "rocky road" and become a bestselling author, writing about food and health. My grandpa ended facing a health crisis, when he was given a copy of my dad's seminal book by his doctor. He followed its advice, and it wound up saving his life. We've seen, in our family, that food matters. And that what we eat profoundly shift the course of our lives.
An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
When my family's life savings was wiped out in the financial collapse of 2008, hundreds of people sent unsolicited gifts that enabled us to recover. Out of that demise came the next chapter of my life's work, and I don't believe any of it would have happened without that generosity.
One Thing On Your Bucket List?
Live and work based in a foreign country, with my family, for at least a month.
One-line Message for the World?
When you bring any area of your life into alignment with your values, your life takes on a potency, and a beauty, that you never could previously have imagined.