Food Presentation Examines Local Sourcing, Sustainability Issues

Dayna Burtness, a Sustainability Fellow with Bon Appétit, the management company that oversees Lawrence University’s dining services, presents “The Story Behind the Food” Tuesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Burtness is one of three recent college graduates serving as fellows for Bon Appétit who are studying best labor and sustainability practices on the farms that supply the company’s 400 cafés in 30 states across the country. The presentation will examine several Bon Appétit initiatives, including Farm to Fork, a local sourcing program and Low Carbon Diet.

Burtness is a graduate of St. Olaf College, where she was co-founder of the college’s student-run farm and served as an intern with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and later became a program associate for the Institute’s Local Foods Program.

The mission of the Bon Appétit Fellows program is to gather information that will lead to better partnerships with farms of all sizes that supply the company’s kitchens. Bon Appétit wants to help farmers build and improve on existing relationships with all their buyers to regionalize and strengthen the country’s food supply chain and improve food security and sustainability for the future.

Bon Appétit began buying direct from farmers through its Farm to Fork local sourcing program 10 years ago as a way to address the loss of flavor in food as a result of industrial agricultural practices and long shipping distances.

Following a spring 2009 visit to Florida’s tomato fields and talks with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Bon Appétit expanded the program, addressing labor issues throughout its entire supply chain. The fellows’ work is the company’s next step toward justice and fairness for farm workers.