On October 30, 2017, five Franciscan Sisters of Mary joined members of the James Beard Foundation for a special gala as the culmination of a day of training for chefs and food advocates. Srs. Judy Bell, Fran Haarmann, Kathy Buchheit, Irma Kennebeck, and Marge O’Gorman celebrated the collaboration of the FSM and the James Beard Foundation at this special dinner and reception at Sardella in Clayton.
The FSM provided funding for the training event. The James Beard Foundation (JBF) is dedicated to making “food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.” During the last decade, the JBF has moved to embrace issues involving the availability of food, based on its commitment to social change, sustainability, and childhood nutrition—a focus that led FSM to approve and endorse their efforts.
With this goal, the James Beard Foundation began a Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change program to help chefs learn more about policy issues affecting our nation’s food system; it trains chefs to be catalysts for change. Funding from FSM enabled the Foundation to bring the training to St. Louis—one of only a handful of cities—bringing together a network of local chefs, farmers, food artisans, media, community organizers, city policy makers, and advocates to encourage improved access to better food for the St. Louis community.
More than 90 attended; they discussed how to become more involved in purchasing local food, reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and supporting food equity.
The sisters joined advocates for a festive family-style meal, enjoying the opportunity to meet chefs, media, and community organizers and hear what they learned from the day’s training. Katherine Miller of the Foundation described how the JBF Advocacy Training flows from its goal “to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.”
Sr. Judy Bell said that collaborating with JBF helps implement the congregation’s Focus on compassionate care of creation through sustainable agriculture and healthy, accessible, and affordable food for everyone.