MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill announced plans to spend $1.5 million over three years toward globalizing what the company calls the “Social Gastronomy Movement,” which aims to address social issues using “the power of food.”

The company signed on as a founding partner with Gastromotiva, a Brazilian non-profit organization that provides education and professional training to young people who face socio-economic challenges. Cargill announced the partnership during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Food is the great connector — and the Social Gastronomy Movement can serve as an equalizer — restoring dignity and respect for anyone in need of a meal or in need of a job,” Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Cargill corporate vice president, said in a statement. “Through hands-on education and training, Social Gastronomy helps the world address some of our greatest challenges, from hunger to unemployment and economic disparity to food waste.” Vorwerk added that the partnership aims to address similar challenges underpinning the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Cargill and Gastromotiva initially will focus on launching an online platform and establishing new global Social Gastronomy hubs. “This partnership brings together two organizations focused on driving social and economic change through food,” David MacLennan, Cargill chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “By combining Gastromotiva’s community focus with Cargill’s global footprint and experience, we can scale the Social Gastronomy Movement to have a positive impact on nourishing individuals around the world.”

Chef David Hertz founded Gastromotiva in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2006. The organization currently has headquarters in Rio de Janeiro where it maintains the Refettorio Gastromotiva, a community kitchen that serves as a restaurant and a school for individuals facing socio-economic hardships while working to reduce food waste.

“Cargill and Gastromotiva are joining forces to make something much bigger than ourselves — to accelerate a movement that will reach the masses,” Hertz said. “By training people to work as chefs, feeding those in need and using food that would have otherwise gone to waste, we generate opportunities, lift up those who are struggling and empower the world through service.”

Gastromotiva already has graduated and sent to the labor market about 3,500 young people, offered nutritional education to more than 100,000 people and, in its Refettorio Gastromotiva community kitchen in Lapa, rescued more than 50,000 kilograms of food that would have been wasted.