In June of this year, Farm Africa—an international non-profit organization that helps address poverty in eastern Africa—launched the “Chefs for Change” campaign, partnering with celebrity chefs Joan Roca, Eneko Atxa and Gaggan Anand who, along with Nicolas Mounard, Chief Executive of Farm Africa, will try to close the large gap between international development and the world’s best, most rarefied cuisine.

Today, roughly half of the world’s poorest people live in sub-Saharan Africa, and most of these people work in some aspect of the agricultural supply chain. Farm Africa’s broader mission is to help farmers grow more food, sell it at fairer prices that will allow them sustainable lives, and to help develop the infrastructure needed to produce food in greater quantities to meet growing demand.

Tying together these two disparate ends of reality is an ambitious mission, one that makes perfect sense in terms of both the agricultural roots of all cooking, in particular the specificity with with haute cuisine honors its food sources, and the power to be leveraged by the money raised in this lucrative market sector. These elite chefs have been tapped for work on development projects that transform lives of rural food producers through sustainable farming.

This past September, Gaggan Anand, whose namesake restaurant in Bangkok has been named number one in all of Asia for four consecutive years running, came to San Francisco for a special dinner to benefit the newly formed Chefs for Change. It was hosted by the Bay Area’s own superstar George Chen at his new luxury Chinese restaurant Eight Tables in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which offers unique prix-fixe menus.

Chefs for Change will report each year on how its projects are contributing to the achievement of one or more of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that target an end to extreme poverty, a reduction of hunger, inequality and injustice, and the reversal of climate change by 2030.

Mounard says, “We are thrilled to work with the world’s best gastronomic innovators in transforming the lives of the world’s most remote rural food producers. The story of food is inextricably linked with farming, a sector that employs over a billion people globally. By uniting in support of sustainable agriculture together we can reduce poverty, achieve gender equality, empower women and improve nutrition among the millions of small-scale farmers worldwide.” – Forbes (11.30.18)