GAITHERSBURG, Md.  (  As one of the founding partners of The System on Our Plates – the James Beard Foundation’s first annual national food conference – Sodexo is proud to announce the October 21st kick-off meeting in Washington, D.C. Founded in collaboration with the Sustainable Food Laboratory, Sodexo is also one of the key sponsors of this invitation-only event, which will focus on public health and sustainability through the lens of the foodservice industry.

“Sodexo is proud to have a role in the diverse local and national programs initiated through the James Beard Foundation and its launch of The System on Our Plates,” said Arlin Wasserman, vice president, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Sodexo. “We look forward to contributing fresh insights from our unique vantage point in the foodservice industry.”

The agenda of the national gathering is based on a series of regional meetings hosted by the James Beard Foundation and the Sustainable Food Laboratory in Portland, Ore., Portland, Maine, Kansas City, Mo., Long Island, N.Y. and New York City.  Through various presentations, panels, group discussions, and other guided conversations, the conference will address many of the common themes discussed by chefs, farmers, sustainability experts and other stakeholders in the food system who attended the regional meetings.

Topics that will be addressed during the food conference are:

  • What can large foodservice operations learn from the experiences of chefs in small, independent restaurants and vice versa?
  • Beyond the sourcing of ingredients, how should restaurants best address sustainability issues such as water and energy consumption, waste, and labor?
  • How can we better inform and educate consumers about the best choices to make?

“More people than ever before in our nation’s history are interested in and passionate about the healthfulness of their food and the health of their food system,” said Susan Ungaro, president, the James Beard Foundation. “Our goal is to engage the entire culinary community to identify ways to improve food safety nutrition and sustainability in the foodservice industry.”

Guest speakers and panelists include Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives; Mike Strain, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; Chef Nora Pouillon; and sustainable food pioneer Chef Michel Nischan.

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter.

About the Sustainable Food Laboratory

The Sustainable Food Lab is a consortium of business, non profit and public organizations working together to accelerate the shift toward sustainability.  The Sustainable Food Lab facilitates market-based solutions to the key issues—including climate, soil, poverty, and water—that are necessary for a healthy and sustainable food system to feed a growing world. The Sustainable Food Lab uses collaborative learning to incubate innovation at every stage along the supply chain from producing to distributing and selling food.

About Sodexo

Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $13 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

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