Friday, June 26, 2015

Spike Mendelsohn Visits UDC Food Hub and Farm

On Monday, June 22, CAUSES played host to Spike Mendelsohn, the recently appointed Chair of the DC Food Policy Council. A former Top Chef contestant--and the "bad boy" of his season (but not in real life, mind you)--Spike now owns six restaurants in the DC area, and nine restaurants total in Philadelphia and Chicago, and recently opened the first of two locations in Saudi Arabia.

As chair of the DC Food Policy Council, the restaurateur is tasked with addressing food access/security across the city, with an emphasis on advancing DC's burgeoning local food movement. The Food Policy Council was established by Mayor Muriel Bowser to promote food sustainability, nutrition education, the District's local food economy and of course, urban agriculture (which we know a thing or two about). Mendelsohn was appointed by Mayor Bowser in early 2015.

Spike and his business partner Vinoda Basnayake, got a firsthand tour of the Ward 3 UDC 
Urban Food Hub, which included a tour of the recently completed green roof, the almost completed teaching and demonstration kitchen, the Environmental Quality Testing Lab (all on the Van Ness campus) and of course, the hub anchor, our research farm in Beltsville, Maryland. 

"This has been eyeopening and inspiring," Mendelsohn commented. 

CAUSES could not ask for a better ally. We look forward to working with Chef Spike in the future!

Touring the food-bearing green roof.
Talking shop with Urban Ag Director Che Axum and Dean O'Hara.
Spike picks carrots for use at Restaurant Bernaise.
Peering into one of the aquaponic tanks.
Additional photos of Chef Spike's visit are available on our Facebook page!

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