Welcome to Team Blonk, Dieu Linh, Alessandra and Nynke!

Welcome to Team Blonk, Dieu Linh, Alessandra and Nynke!

Meet our new colleagues

Our team is growing, and we are very pleased to announce Dieu Linh, Alessandra and Nynke joined team Blonk over the past two months. All three strengthen the Blonk Sustainability Tools division as consultants. We warmly welcome them and are happy to introduce them to you. Let’s meet Dieu Linh, Alessandra and Nynke!

Dieu Linh Hoang

Consultant Sustainability Tools


Coming from Vietnam, a country with strong food production, it has always been my ambition to contribute to a sustainable agricultural system. I did my bachelor in Environment Sciences at Vietnam National University Hanoi. After obtaining my bachelor, I worked as an Environmental Specialist for a manufacturing company where I first learned about green supply chain management. So impressed with this sustainability approach, I applied for a master scholarship in Industrial Ecology. I spent my first year at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and my second year at Leiden University and TU Delft. After that I worked as a PhD researcher at the University of Groningen, the topic being biomass and biogas production in the perspective of (bio)Circular Economy. The PhD project is where I was exposed the most to an agricultural system different than my home country. It showed me the struggles of agriculture, the trade-offs and conflicting interests between actors, even within sustainability practices, and of course potential solutions to tackle the current challenges. This urged me to work further with agri-food systems, to learn and to make an impact.

Blonk is a well-known name in the field of sustainability and food, its extensive agri-food database and high-quality Life Cycle Thinking tools and solutions. In my previous job and study I have used multiple Blonk publications. That’s why I am very happy to be a part of Blonk as a Sustainability Tools Consultant.
I look forward to working with Blonk’s knowledgeable and motivated colleagues and its wide range of exciting clients in the field. I believe this is where I can use my strengths to create value and develop further to face new challenges of sustainable agri-food system.

Besides working with agri-food systems, I very much enjoy spending time with my family and friends, doing handicrafts and learning about cultures.


Alessandra Grasso

Consultant


Following my PhD I was excited to begin a new chapter in my career and join Blonk Sustainability Tools as a consultant. In this role, I will work on a variety of projects related to sustainable nutrition and diets. I look forward to expand and leverage my knowledge, skills, and network working with diverse teams at Blonk and solve complex, real-world problems that bring a sustainable agri-food sector that promotes human and planetary health closer to reality.

Linking nutrition with agriculture and the broader food system has been a passion and focus of my work for a while now. Before joining Blonk I was doing a PhD in sustainable nutrition at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, focusing on the environmental impact of health-oriented dietary strategies among specific subpopulations in Europe. During my PhD I used Blonk’s LCA data and applied Optimeal (Blonk’s diet optimization tool) to explore how to increase protein intake in an environmentally sustainable way in Dutch older adults.

Originally from Virginia, USA, my interests in environmental sustainability and public health began during my graduate studies at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Focusing on international health and human nutrition, I directed my studies to better understand how agriculture affects human and ecological health.
During this time, I worked as a research assistant for a childhood obesity prevention project in Baltimore, to improve access to and consumption of healthier foods among low-income urban families. Later I had the opportunity to spend three months in Addis Ababa for an internship with Jhpiego, where I supported a project promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture. My experience in Ethiopia, and interest to understand the causal pathways that link agriculture to nutrition in food insecure populations, brought me to pursue a research fellowship with the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security program. I partnered with Bioversity International and conducted qualitative research to explore the role of agricultural biodiversity in promoting healthy diets and strengthening livelihoods. After receiving my master’s degree, I moved back to Ethiopia and worked for over a year at a monitoring and evaluation consulting firm involved in projects across the development sector.

My passions extend beyond work to extracurricular life as well. A novice but avid gardener, I can be found weeding, digging, and harvesting at a local urban garden on the weekends. I love cooking (always up to try a new Ottolenghi recipe), spending time in nature, knitting, traveling, and exploring the Netherlands by bike with my husband.


Nynke Draijer

Consultant Sustainability Tools


My background is in Food Technology, studying at Wageningen University with a specialization in Sustainable Food Process Engineering. I’m an analytical and logical thinker with a love for efficiency and a distain for (food) waste, so focusing on sustainability was an obvious step for me. Although I do love a fitting process mass balance, I soon realized that for real sustainability you need to broaden your vision from just the single process unit and instead look from a supply chain perspective. This led me to a MSc thesis using multicriteria supply chain optimization at the Operations, Research and Logistics department.

After finishing my studies, I worked as a content coordinator developing online courses on Biobased/Circular economy, after which I started a PhD project on sustainable (plant) food protein ingredients and products. Next to learning a lot in the sustainable food tech field, I also discovered an interest in data science and what can be achieved by applying the right tools.

I have wide interests, never shying away from a content deep-dive, but I’ve always been drawn to impact-driven work. It feels like Blonk Sustainability Tools is the perfect place to apply and develop my skills. I’m very excited to approach the challenges our customers bring us and to contribute to the many sustainability developments in the agri-food industry!
Despite what many people expect from someone with a food technology background, I am not a very good cook (I do know what happens at the chemical level when I burn something though…). However, I rear a couple chickens, do vegetable gardening and I also milked cows as a dairy farmhand for a couple of months - meaning I have some tiny-scale experience with primary food production. I’m looking forward to expanding this with proper large-scale knowledge about efficient primary production, in addition to my food technology background.

When I’m not working for Blonk or my PhD, I have many hobbies to choose from: next to “primary producing” (and of course relaxing) in my garden I like tending to my many indoor plants, reading, sewing, languages/traveling, salsa dancing, doing a variety of sports and being outdoors (hiking/camping).