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Sustainable Food Advocate and Former Bon Appétit Executive Helene York to Present Convocation

January 20, 2013

Carleton College will host Helene York, an advocate for sustainable food who directed the purchasing initiatives of the Bon Appétit Management Company (Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges’ food service provider) from 2005 until 2013, on Friday, Jan. 25. York’s presentation, “Beyond Consumer Activism: What Companies Must Do to Fix a Broken Food System,” will discuss how Bon Appétit works to make more sustainable food available to its large network of clients. Carleton’s weekly convocation is held from 10:50-11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel, and it is free and open to the public. Convocations are also streamed live and can be viewed online at http://apps.carleton.edu/events/convocations/.

 

York has overseen food purchases for Bon Appétit, first as an internal advocate and later as director of purchasing strategies (she was the first person to hold this position at Bon Appétit), with the goal of building a meaningful sustainable food program. She has particularly focused on seafood, helping many companies to move away from threatened fish species and toward sustainable supplies (for which she was honored by SeaWeb with a Seafood Champion Award in 2010). York most recently developed and launched the Fish to Fork purchasing program in 2011, which promotes the use of fresh seafood from non-industrial regional sources. She also created Bon Appétit’s Low Carbon Diet program in 2007, which led to the reduction of over 5 million pounds in carbon dioxide emissions.

 

York also served as director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation from 2005 until 2012, where she assisted in the foundation’s mission of educating consumers and chefs about how their purchasing choices affect the global environment. York has served as an advisor for groups including the Global Aquaculture Project Initiative (sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts) and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (initiated by the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop standards to improve the way produce is grown). A graduate of Harvard and Yale Universities, York has contributed to The Atlantic’s website since 2009, where she writes about food-related issues. York also serves as director of Humane Farm Animal Care, a nonprofit group that oversees the “Certified Humane” program, and cofounded FishChoice.com, which helps chefs find sustainable seafood supplies.

 

Founded in 1987 and based in Palo Alto, Calif., the Bon Appétit Management Company seeks to provide fresh, high-quality food to a specialized audience. The company serves corporate clients (including such big-name companies as Amazon, eBay and Target), colleges and universities (including Carleton, St. Olaf and Macalester Colleges in Minnesota, among dozens of others) and specialty venues (such as the Minnesota History Center and the Art Institute of Chicago). In 1999, Bon Appétit began its commitment to sustainability with the launch of its Farm to Fork Program, and since then the company has pursued socially responsible food sources. Bon Appétit has received awards for both its food service and its commitment to sustainability. The Princeton Review has twice named it the #1 college food service in the United States, and in 2011 the Review ranked a Bon Appétit client (Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.) as #1 in college food. Bon Appétit has served as Carleton’s food service provider since 2008.

 

For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Office of College Relations at (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street between College and Winona Streets in Northfield.

Written by Jacob Cohn '13