A Conversation with Kim Olson

“This pandemic has really exposed the inherent brokenness of our existing food system.” ~Joi Chevalier

On Wednesday, May 20th, The Cook’s Nook’s Joi Chevalier participated in a Zoom call with local leader Kim Olson, and Betti Wiggins, Officer of Nutrition Services for Houston ISD to discuss how this pandemic has magnified gaps in our current food system.

Inspiring Incubators–Lessons From Community Frontlines

In a conversation hosted by the James Beard Foundation, Inspiring Incubators–Lessons From Community Frontlines, Joi joined activists from across the country including Lucas Denton from The Melting Pot Foundation; Chef Rodney Frazier of Collective Fare; Caleb Zigas from La Cocina and others to discuss how their organizations are making a difference in their communities.

As a supporter of small businesses, Joi explained, “We spent a lot of time …trying to ensure that our entrepreneurs understood what might be coming down the pipeline for them -as business owners, as entrepreneurs, how they need to protect themselves, were their books in order, what was going to be asked of them…”

On a community-wide level, Joi gave more information about how SEFAN came to be. The public-private partnership is designed to provide underserved populations with healthy, prepared meals. At the time of the panel, the program was making 16,000 meals per day.

Pivoting Your Industry: A Focus on the Culinary Business

On additionally, on May 28th, Joi moderated an important discussion of how small businesses can pivot during the pandemic. In a candid discussion (sponsored by the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce) with Jennifer Rodriguez of 3 small plates catering and Chi Ndika of Luv Fats Ice Cream.

The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a series of events on how small businesses can adapt during the pandemic.

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