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Harvesting Hope: Gracie’s Chef Matt Varga on Growing RI’s Food Systems

This year’s Harvesting Hope fundraiser to benefit the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) will feature a menu designed by Gracie’s executive chef Matt Varga '05 that will draw almost exclusively from local farmers, purveyors and brewers. The event, which takes place at the Squantum Association on Tuesday, October 3, highlights the SCLT’s work to strengthen, expand and better integrate a sustainable local food system here in Rhode Island.

Zero Waste, Maximum Flavor: Chef Mike Thibault '09 Returns to JWU

“The minute you stop learning as a chef is the minute you become obsolete,” Chef Mike Thibault '09 recently explained to a capacity crowd at JWU Providence’s College of Culinary Arts. The university’s 178th Distinguished Visiting Chef (DVC) was explaining how the process of becoming a leader is ever-evolving: “It’s the faith people put in you. You don’t have to have all the answers — and if you make mistakes, own up to them.”

RI Food Summit Envisions a Strong State Food Economy

The state of Rhode Island is ramping up its efforts to become a food powerhouse. In 2016, Governor Gina Raimondo hired the state’s — and nation’s — first Director of Food Strategy to develop a comprehensive food plan.

The preliminary report, a 17-page document outlining a 5-year action plan, was unveiled at the first-ever RI Food System Summit, which was held at the University of Rhode Island.

Chefs, Startups + Policy Makers Convene for JWU Food Waste Forum

Food loss and waste in the US accounts for approximately 31% — or 133 billion pounds — of the overall food supply. Experts have projected that reducing food losses by just 15% would provide enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year, sharply reducing incidences of food insecurity nationwide.

Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts recently hosted “Spread the Surplus: Getting Wasted Food to Hungry People,” a half-day forum to discuss current food initiatives and brainstorm food waste reduction solutions for Rhode Island and the greater New England region.

How JWU Denver Students Built a Vegetable Garden from Scratch

Building the garden (top left) and reaping the rewards. All photos by Jasmine Smith '16.

As Executive Vice President of JWU Denver’s Student Government Association (SGA) — as well as a culinary nutrition student — Jasmine Smith '16 is always looking for ways to improve the campus experience for students. Starting a sustainable garden on campus required funding, volunteers and willing student gardeners — as well as a strategic foundation to support its ongoing maintenance. Jasmine explains how she and the SGA kept the project moving forward: