The James Beard Foundation (JBF) will host its ninth Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Changeon May 22 through May 24 in Montana. Fifteen chefs from across the country will gather at The Resort at Paws Ups in Greenough, Montana, to learn effective advocacy skills while exploring the multifaceted issues around food waste reduction.

“A staggering 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten each year while millions of Americans go to bed hungry each night. Addressing this issue through prevention, recovery, and recycling provides an opportunity to significantly reduce wasted food, while creating economic and environmental benefits,” says Kris Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “Chefs will be important stakeholders in achieving the U.S. government’s goal of 50 percent reduction of food waste by 2030 by addressing waste in their day-to-day business operations and by leveraging their visibility to help educate consumers on creative ways to reduce waste at home.”

To date, more than 100 chefs have participated in the JBF Chefs Boot Camp program, which was launched in 2012. During the intensive three-day training, chefs hone the policy and advocacy skills they need to be effective champions for the food-system issues they feel most passionately about.

“The Resort at Paws Up is proud to host the next James Beard Foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change,” says Larry Lipson, co-owner and managing director of the Resort at Paws Up. “The vision for JBF’s Chefs Boot Camp resoundingly resonates with the driving philosophy of Paws Up’s culinary program. When it comes to food, we’re committed to delivering the ‘five E’s’: Expand, Expose, Engage, Educate, and Entertain. We want our guests to Expand their palates, to be Exposed to new ideas about nutrition and wellness, to Engage in meaningful conversations about the origin of foods and their sustainability, to become Educated through Paws Up Culinary Academy, launching next year, and since we are a resort first and foremost, to be Entertained by what they eat.”

The upcoming Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change will immerse participating chefs in sessions including:

•                Creating a Fair, Just, Sustainable, Nutritious, and Delicious Food System; and Why Chefs Matter: What is advocacy, why do we do it, how do we do it, and what to expect from policy—engaging chefs on food-system issues.

•                How Policy Happens: Overview of policy change at state and federal levels, illustrated using food waste as an example of a policy issue.

•                Power of Networks: Educatingchefs on their powerful networks that can complement other influencers.

•                Creating a Movement: Utilizing social influencers and networks, including the role of social media platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, to help successfully cut food waste by 50 percent.

•                A is for Advocacy: Why we need campaigns, how they work, and how we build them.

•                Farm Activities and Collaborative Chefs Dinner: Chefs tour the Resort at Paws Up and cook dinner together using ingredients harvested from the farm and sourced from local purveyors.

•                Reducing Food Waste by 50 percent by 2030: Outline what national advocacy groups are doing to achieve this goal and discuss how to become a successful advocate on this issue. 

The Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change was launched in July 2012 and is conducted under the direction of JBF Award–winning chef and founder of Wholesome Wave, Michel Nischan, and James Beard Foundation trustee and founder of Arabella Advisors, Eric Kessler.  The program, which is generously supported by the Osprey Foundation, the Resort at Paws Up, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation in memory of Chef Matt Haley, and Windstar Cruises, provides chefs with policy and advocacy training from industry and political experts, that includes classroom work, mock interviews, hands-on activities that engage the chefs with local natural resources, a collaborative dinner cooked by the attendees, and strategic brainstorming about effective action points and next steps

The 360-degree approach to educating and activating these powerful change makers on important food issues continues with ongoing support from the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Action Network, which provides campaign development, speech writing, media skills and training, policy research, and preparation for visits with policy makers and other leaders.

The Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change is part of the James Beard Foundation's broader Impact Programs, which engage the culinary community in the ongoing process of creating a sustainable food system that provides nutritious and delicious food for all. Other Impact programs include conducting a national dialogue on food-system issues at Issue Summits in cities around the country; local advocacy trainings in cities around the country; the annual JBF Food Conference, which brings together a diverse group of food-system thought leaders; the annual Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries helping to create a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world; the JBF Culinary Labs, which engage chefs in hands-on opportunities around food-systems issues; the Enlightened Eaters program which explores food system issues through readings, lectures, and screenings; and the ongoing advocacy and issue support provided by the Foundation’s Chef Action Network.

More than 650 chefs have applied to the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change program since it launched. Participants are selected to represent regional and topic interest diversity, with consideration given to the voice that each chef has within their local community and on a national level. 

Industry News, Sustainability