News and announcements 08/21/2018

Last week, 12 of Canada’s top chefs gathered at The New Farm in Creemore, ON for two days of learning, sharing, eating, and, of course, a bit of cooking. They were the first cohort of chefs to take part in Community Food Centres Canada’s Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Social Change, an advocacy-focused workshop inspired by the James Beard Foundation that supports chefs with the knowledge and tools to become effective advocates on food issues.

Here are our top takeaways from this inspiring and invigorating event.

Chefs are doers  

Our Chef Bootcampers are hardworking, busy, and passionate. They take action—in their restaurants and in their communities. They’re fired up about making our food system work better for low-income Canadians.

We’re fortunate to have these influential agents of change in our corner—ready to make some noise about the fact that 13 per cent of people in this country struggle with food insecurity, and that it’s time for our government to do something about it.

Advocacy is a contact sport

A big part of the two-day workshop, led by CFCC, in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, was spent talking about how social change happens. We covered a lot of ground—from how policies are created, to what goes into a great advocacy campaign, to how to talk to your Member of Parliament.

The bottom line: advocacy is hard work. It takes time, and it’s high-contact. But it’s also high-impact. Armed with a voice that can influence how people think about food, an issue that resonates with caring Canadians, and a network of other advocates who will stand up and offer support when needed, our Chef Bootcamp class of 2018 is well-positioned to stir up some much-needed change.

We’re in this together

It took a team of like-minded people and organizations to make Chef Bootcamp happen. And now we need these same people at the table to mobilize, to speak out, to meet with politicians, and to spread the message that food won’t solve hunger—only better incomes and social policies will.

Thank you to our incredible roster of chefs: Suzanne Barr, Toronto; Mark Brand, Vancouver; Judy Dempsey, Perth; Carl Heinrich, Toronto; Lora Kirk, Toronto; Ben Kramer, Winnipeg; Renée Lavallée, Dartmouth; George Lenser, Montreal; Joshna Maharaj, Toronto; Leona Nyman, Collingwood; Todd Perrin, St. John’s; and Hugh Acheson, Atlanta, GA.

Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Social Change would not have been possible without our partners, the James Beard Foundation and The New Farm, and our generous sponsors: Bernardin, Tin Shack, and Creemore Springs.