Fifteen chefs intent on creating a better food system will be attending the James Beard Foundation’s (JBF) 15th Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change from June 10-12, 2018 at Glynwood in Cold Spring, New York. The focus will be on the 2018 Farm Bill and how chefs can advocate for change within the local, state, and federal levels of food policy. 

“The current Farm Bill—an expansive, complicated, and daunting piece of legislation – is set to expire in September 2018. This nearly $1 trillion spending bill sets the agenda for almost every aspect of our national food policy, including funding for various programs designed to make sure that Americans don’t go hungry,” says Kris Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “Participants at our upcoming Boot Camp we will be educated on the breadth of what the bill covers and the most effective ways to use their voices to support the components of the Farm Bill they feel most passionately about.”

Participating chefs are provided training from industry and political experts, which includes classroom work, mock interviews, social media campaign creation, hands-on activities that engage the chefs with local natural resources, a collaborative dinner cooked by the attendees, strategic brainstorming about effective action points, and more.

This Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, returning to Glynwood for the fourth time, will immerse participating chefs in sessions led by Katherine Miller, JBF’s senior director of food policy advocacy. These sessions include: 

Why Chefs Voices Matter: What is advocacy, why we do it, how we do it, and what to expect from policy; engaging chefs on food-system issues.

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

ABCs of the Farm Bill: Chefs will learn about the different agriculture and feeding programs included in the legislation and explore ways to get involved in the debate of the nearly trillion-dollar food and agriculture bill.

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

Farm Activities and Collaborative Dinner: Chefs tour Glynwood and cook dinner together using ingredients harvested from the farm and sourced from local purveyors; they then sit down together and share the meal that they’ve prepared.

The June 2018 Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change will be attended by the following chefs:

  • Sanaa Abourezk, Sioux Falls, SD
  • April Anderson, Detroit
  • Nyesha Arrington, Los Angeles
  • Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Austin
  • Tracy Chang, Cambridge, MA
  • Suzanne DeYoung, Cincinnati
  • Brandon Foster, Denver
  • Mark Gandara, New York City
  • Cheetie Kumar, Raleigh, NC
  • Mark Mason, Provo, UT
  • Patrick Mulvaney, Sacramento, CA (returning alumni)
  • Judy Ni, Philadelphia
  • Carlos Salazar, Indianapolis
  • Jim Smith, Mobile, AL
  • Carrie Summer, Minneapolis
  • The Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change was launched in July 2012 in collaboration with JBF Award–winning chef and founder of Wholesome Wave, Michel Nischan, and JBF trustee and founder of Arabella Advisors, Eric Kessler. The initiative is a part of the Foundation’s broader Impact Programs, which engage the culinary community in the ongoing progression of creating a sustainable food system that provides nutritious and delicious food for all.

Other JBF 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 JBF Food Summit, which brings together a diverse group of food-system thought leaders; annual Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries helping to create a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world; Culinary Labs, which engage chefs in hands-on opportunities around food-systems issues; Smart Catch, a sustainable seafood menu assessment program created for chefs with the purpose of increasing the sustainability of the seafood supply chain; the Blended Burger Project; and the ongoing advocacy and issue support provided by JBF’s Chef Action Network.

More than 900 chefs have applied to the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change program since 2012. 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. The program is generously supported by the Carl M. Freeman Foundation in memory of chef Matt Haley; the Distinguished Vineyards portfolio, including Argyle, MacRostie, and Wither Hills wineries; Niman Ranch; the Osprey Foundation; and Windstar Cruises. 

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