James Beard Foundation vice president of Impact Katherine Miller expresses her gratitude for the efforts of diners and food industry professionals to push for change, and highlights the ongoing political and cultural challenges that mean we all have to keep fighting.
One of the first lessons we teach at our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change is that thanking people for their time, talent, and treasure (the three measures of philanthropy and advocacy) is integral to any organization’s, cause’s, or campaign’s success. Anybody who joins our mission to create a better food system, whether through donations or volunteer time or signing a petition, deserves our thanks and gratitude.
So, thank you. We’re only a few months into this new year, and we are truly grateful for the support we’ve already received from everyone in our community.
More than 500 chefs and restaurants are actively participating in our Smart Catch program. This program educates chefs about how to diversify the seafood options they’re serving, and how to talk to their customers about these more ocean-friendly choices.
Hundreds of culinary instructors have signed onto Creating a Full-Use Kitchen, an online continuing education program that is training the next generation of chefs to reduce food waste.
In our new partnership with Good Food 100, we’re seeing chefs from around the country signing up to participate in this economic study on the positive impacts of running restaurants deeply rooted in local and sustainable purchasing.
We also just completed our 17th Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, and now have chef advocates trained in 48 states. These chefs will be working tirelessly to prevent unnecessary cuts to programs that support veterans, children, families, and farmers.
In all, more than 2,000 chefs, restaurateurs, and professionals in our industry have signed on in support of campaigns and initiatives designed to expand policies and business practices that are good for people, communities, and the planet.
Thank you all, very much. But there is still more that we can all do together.
For the remainder of March we’re asking that everyone support women-led restaurants through Grubhub’s annual RestaurantHER initiative. During Women’s History Month, when you round up your change on an online takeout or delivery order, the difference will be donated directly to our Women’s Leadership Programs. With the proceeds from this campaign, the James Beard Foundation will work to ensure that more women step into leadership positions in kitchens, including expanding the number of women-owned restaurants. So the next time you order in, donate your change and help us make a real difference in the lives of women across the country.
We also need people to stand with our chef-advocates against drastic cuts to programs that support America’s farmers and families in need. Just last week the Trump Administration proposed more than $26 billion in cuts to farm subsidy programs. The new budget proposal also recommends more than $17.4 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Not only is this potentially devastating for millions of American families who are food insecure, but the economic analysis shows that it could cost the U.S. economy jobs. One study shows that the we could lose as many as 200,000 positions in 2020! Join us today on social media using #HandsOffSNAP and follow along for breaking policy updates on my Twitter feed @Table81.
These are a few easy steps that you can take today to show your support for all the work being done by chefs, restaurateurs, beverage professionals, and others across the hospitality industry.
Thank you for all you’ve already done. Please join us in doing a little more.
For more information about our Impact programs, please visit jamesbeard.org/impact.
Katherine Miller is vice president of Impact at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter.