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The Kellogg fellow is in her third term representing North Carolina 12th Congressional District

March 11, 2019

Kellogg Fellows Examining Equity through Food

How can issues of societal and racial equity be better understood through the lens of food?

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I try to find interesting projects working on food and agriculture that bridge culture and business and that promote environmental sustainability and prosperity at the community level. That’s a mouthful in more ways than one.

 I try to find interesting projects working on food and agriculture that bridge culture and business and that promote environmental sustainability and prosperity at the community level. That’s a mouthful in more ways than one. I do love food. It tastes good. It makes people happy. My own life feels full of joy when I can make a contribution to the world while also eating well, drinking great wine and traveling. Other people want really big bank accounts. I want my recipe notebook to be full to busting. I also chose food as the lever for my social-change work because it’s something in an increasingly divided country that everybody shares and where the confrontation of other politics is instead filled with joy. And, when you taste good food, you know it without the need for political considerations. All this comes from two things in my own life, neither unique. The first is that everything that is fully personal seems to happen around the kitchen table—love is kindled, jokes are told and rumors spread. In my own sped up life, finding my way back to the kitchen is a necessity. (Cooking after a hard day’s work also is one great avenue of creativity, mixing in the harvest of Midwestern earth with the approaches and aesthetics of Asia, Europe and Latin America that I hold in my head.) Also, food is one of the places where almost everyone I know can move beyond cultural tolerance and actually be interested in learning and experiencing the foods of Judaism, Islam, former Soviet states or even the currently scorned French. Bon appétit.

This essay and portrait is part of a community-art and leadership project called “wdydwyd?” Tony Deifell (KNLP-16) invited his colleagues in the Kellogg Fellowship to reflect on what motivates them to follow their personal and professional paths by answering the question, “Why do you do what you do?”


“wdydwyd?” has reached over 1.5 million people worldwide and it has been used for team-building at Google, Twitter, many colleges and universities, nonprofits and K-12 classrooms. And, according to Wired Magazine, “In Silicon Valley, that question has been the hottest team-building meme since Outward Bound – and it’s spreading.” For more information: http://wdydwyd.com/leadership.


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