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Policy Studies Alumna Ashia Aubourg Advocates for Food Justice

April 5, 2023

After graduating in 2018, Aubourg launched a digital community that unearths underrepresented narratives within food, travel and culture.

As a young child, Ashia Aubourg ’18 B.A. (PSt) dreamed of working as a chef. She relished the connections forged while preparing meals, having spent untold hours helping her family in the kitchen. Thanksgiving was always a favorite.

Ashia Aubourg
Ashia Aubourg ’18 B.A. (PSt) dreamed of being a chef until an internship in high school revealed to her the deep chasm of food inequity. 

But Aubourg’s focus shifted in high school when a restaurant internship revealed to her the deep inequities in food access. “None of my friends and none of the members of the community, even though it was nestled within our community, could afford to come and enjoy these delicious foods that we offered,” she recalls.

“That just got me thinking about what food inequality and food justice looks like. Here I had this super tunnel vision of going down this culinary path of wanting to become a chef, but the culinary curriculum was very much focused on the technique and history of food. We never dug deep into the societal impact that food has on us.”

As an undergraduate at Syracuse University, Aubourg found her footing with a dual major in policy studies at the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences, and food studies at Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.

Soon after, Aubourg launched a digital food media platform, Nourished Palate. Through enticing photos and recipes create by Aubourg, and related content such as podcast interviews with Black visionaries, her followers gain awareness of underrepresented narratives within food, travel and culture. One recent podcast features an interview with Amirio Freeman, a Black queer artist and food systems advocate who serves as an advocacy specialist at Feeding America and co-founded a mutual aid fund to support Black LGBQT+ youth.

She says Nourished Palate has been an “amazing starting point” to experiment with her passion for storytelling. In the future, she hopes to amplify her work on larger platforms.

“Having the opportunity to tell a narrative and center underrepresented communities or topics is a privilege I do not take lightly,” says Aubourg, who is also a food writer at SELF magazine and contributor for publications such as Food & Wine and Cuisine Noir magazine. “I am so grateful for my time at Syracuse University, and the time I spent building a foundational understanding of food and how it intersects in the policy arena.”

By John Boccacino

Published in the Spring 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

Ashia Aubourg ’18 B.A. (PSt) spoke recently with fellow Maxwell alumnus John Boccacino ’20 E.M.P.A. for the podcast, ‘Cuse Conversations. To listen to the episode, check out ’Cuse Conversations on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play and more.

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