The pandemic and the simultaneous racial reckoning and awaking that the country has experienced over the last two-plus years have highlighted the fragility of our food system, the thin line between food security and insecurity for so many, and the structural and systemic inequalities that create these realities. DC Central Kitchen, an iconic, food-based social enterprise that was founded in 1989 to turn the notion of charity on its head, has been at the forefront these issues for over three decades. The Kitchen’s CEO, Mike Curtin ’86, will lead the class on an exploration of food access, food justice and economic opportunity through the lens of DC Central Kitchen’s growth and evolution. We will also work through DC Central Kitchen’s Eight Rules for Righteous Entrepreneurs, principles that have defined the organization’s impact . The class will also discuss the basics of nonprofit management and the roles social enterprise and innovation can have in disrupting a more traditional nonprofit structure. The main text for the class will be Food Fighters, DC Central Kitchen’s First Twenty Five years on the Front Lines of Hunger and Poverty by Alex Moore, the Kitchen’s Chief Development Officer. This will be supplemented by readings and other materials provided by guests who are also engaged in the fight against hunger and for systemic changes to our food system and access to economic opportunity and liberation. Guest speakers will engage with students, share their work and challenge students to look at food justice from environmental, legal, political, racial and economic perspectives. Past guests have included and will include chef and humanitarian, Jose Andres; Pulitzer Prize winning author, Marcia Chatalain; former US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan ’80; Congressman Jim McGovern; food and racial justice activist, Chris Bradshaw; and several DC Central Kitchen alumni and staff.
The Class: Format: lecture
Grading: pass/fail only
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Short paper and final project or presentation.
Enrollment Preferences: If over enrolled, preference will be given to students closest to graduation.
Unit Notes: Mike Curtin '86 is the CEO of DC Central Kitchen and has been responsible for taking the Kitchen from a small mom and pop nonprofit to one of the most respected and impactful social enterprises in the world.