Alumna receives fellowship focused on food system
October 22, 2012
Drawing on her major and undergraduate leadership experiences, Claire Cummings B.A. ’11 earned a fellowship with Bon Appétit Management Company advocating for improvements to the food system.
With a major in international affairs and minor in environmental studies, Cummings spent her college career gathering a deep understanding of food issues on a broad scale. Like most students, she became familiar with Bon Appétit through on-campus dining, and her work with the company grew from there.
“I was in the midst of trying to run the Real Food Calculator in our college café,” Cummings said. “I was also a frequent patron; even though I lived off campus, I knew some days Bon Appétit would feed me better than I could feed myself.”
As cochair of the student-run Environmental Affairs Symposium in 2010, Cummings had the opportunity to pick panelists who would help make food issues accessible to a wider audience. One of these panelists was Maisie Greenawalt, Bon Appétit’s vice president of strategy and the president of the BAMCO Foundation. Greenawalt’s contribution to the panel was eye opening for Cummings.
“I was already familiar with Bon Appétit…[but] it never hit home that Bon Appétit wasn’t just following the food movement, but was using their purchasing power to change the food industry for the better,” Cummings said.
Working closely with Bon Appétit during the symposium helped Cummings see an opportunity to continue her academic work and advocacy on a lager scale.
“It was exciting to see true sustainability at work: a for-profit business model that was also loyal to a socially responsible mission,” said Cummings. “From then on, I knew I wanted to work for Bon Appétit.”
Cummings is now several months into her two-year fellowship, advocating for improved food industry practices and educating people on the importance of food choices.
She is working with several student groups to host an Alternative Pumpkin Picking event on October 27. The educational event will focus on the challenges and benefits of growing food sustainably; students will return to campus with kabocha pumpkins to cook instead of carve.
Read Claire’s essay, “Following the Food Chain Back to Bon Appétit.”
Blue Lassiter ’15 contributed to this story.