by Avi Schlosburg
I’m a second-year student in the Gastronomy program, and I’m focusing on policy and systems. I’m also a research and development intern at Slow Money. Slow Money is a nonprofit organization working to catalyze venture capital and investments into small food enterprises across the country. Their model is similar to Slow Food, with a large national umbrella organization that incubates smaller local chapters. These local chapters are bringing entrepreneurs together with investors, finance experts, and various food systems stakeholders to get money flowing into regional and local food systems.
When I moved up to Boston from Maryland in January 2010, I was scrambling around to find a job or internship relevant to my Gastronomy studies. I came across a position on Sustainable Food Jobs for an Executive Assistant/Social Media Expert with Slow Money and of course applied. I didn’t even get a “thanks but no thanks” and was pretty bummed about it, despite being wholly under qualified. Still, getting a position with an organization like Slow Money was basically the reason I picked up my life and moved to Boston.
After settling for a temp job at MBTA for the summer doing mindless work that had absolutely no relevance to what I was studying or wanted to do with my life, I decided I needed to convince Slow Money to give me another chance. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I emailed the contact person on their website and poured my heart out about how I wanted to create a just and sustainable food system and how my past experiences would help Slow Money do just that, which at the time was a bit of an exaggeration. Now, seven months later, I’m writing grant proposals, helping to organize their national event, and conducting extensive research for their nationwide communications efforts.
In all the work I do for Slow Money, I find myself relying heavily on the knowledge I have accrued in the Gastronomy program. From discussing Slow Money’s impact on the growth of alternative food systems when I write grant proposals to writing reports on the market and investment potential for CSAs, alternative supply chains, and organic farms, I find myself consistently using my library of books and articles from my last year as a student of Gastronomy.
The moral of the story? Boston University Gastronomy program + being creative/proactive/maybe a little pushy = working on things you actually care about.
This is the first in a series of posts from Gastronomy students on how they’re putting their classroom knowledge to work and expanding their education through internships and volunteer opportunities. To write about your own internship, volunteer position or job, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.