The Edible Schoolyard Project

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Chefs Who Give: The Ones Who Take A Big-Picture View

Staff Writer
A three-part look at how chefs give back at home and around the country

Over the last two days, we’ve looked at the events chefs host and how they give back to their communities. Sometimes the restaurant industry up to combat hunger, obesity and other food-related issues on a national or global scale.

Here are eight organizations taking a wide-angle view of hunger and food-scarcity issues.

Commons Threads: Chef-to-the-stars Art Smith co-founded the organization after seeing a need to teach kids how to cook. It provides nutritional programs and curriculums focused on preventing childhood obesity, and it encourages kids to learn to cook healthy meals at home.

Edible Schoolyard Project: Famed chef Alice Waters has long been an advocate of ensuring healthy food choices in schools. This nonprofit started with one school building its own garden and has grown into a national network. Its mission is to share educational programs for schools around the country.

No Kid Hungry: Its mission is in its name: End childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children eat healthy food every day. The far-reaching nonprofit runs a number of initiatives including state partnerships; fundraising events such as Dine Out, Taste of the Nation and bake sales; and large-scale marketing campaigns featuring nationally recognized chefs.

Piggy Bank: The Trust for Conservation created this porcine nonprofit to build a sanctuary for heritage-breed pigs. The recently launched farm in Missouri is now home to 10 different heritage breeds. New farms will receive these genetically diverse piglets and a business plan — all free of charge. The ultimate goal is to keep our foodways diverse.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture: It’s no surprise that Dan Barber, the chef behind the #NoWaste movement, founded this farm and education center dedicated to sustainable food systems. The teaching farm aims to improve farming practices, as well as increase public awareness of healthy, seasonable, and sustainable food.

Vetri Community Partnership: Founded in 2008 by chef Marc Vetri and restaurateur Jeff Benjamin, the goal of this organization is to help kids experience connection between healthy eating and healthy living. A mobile kitchen offers cooking classes and demonstrations, offers “eatiquette” classes to local schools, provides healthy recipes, and more. They also host the Great Chefs event in June to benefit the organization in partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Wholesome Wave: For nearly a decade, this SNAP-partnered organization, founded by Michel Mischan, has provided affordable, healthy, and locally grown food to under-served communities. It advocates, provides resources to those in need, and holds an annual educational summit.

World Central Kitchen: In 2010, world-renowned chef José Andrés cooked for the people of Haiti after the devastating earthquake. To expand his educational reach, he formed the World Central Kitchen to provide education, jobs, and health-related training to those desperately in need. Currently in Haiti, Zambia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and the United States, the organization also builds needed kitchen facilities. 

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