Emily Torgrimson

2020 Marjorie E. Kettell Distinguished Alumna Award

Named in memory and honor of Dr. Marjorie E. Kettell, Class of 1947, this award is presented annually to bestow institutional recognition on one Harriet E. Richards Cooperative House alumna who has distinguished herself in her personal or professional life, in her intellectual pursuits, or in her dedication to service of community, country or society.

If we are what we eat, Emily Torgrimson is both dim sum from her childhood in Hong Kong, and jello salad from her family’s return to small-town Minnesota, her dad’s beef stew slow-cooked on a cold day, her mom’s pesto made with basil grown on their farm.

For Emily, it all starts with food, and the strong belief that food has incredible power to nurture and create sustainable communities. Combining her passions for food, community, and social justice, Emily co-founded Eat for Equity in Boston in 2006, and brought Eat for Equity to Minneapolis in 2007. An energetic and resourceful community builder, Emily has collaborated with farmers, artists, benefitting organizations, and community organizations on hundreds of benefit dinners.

Emily grew up in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and a farm in southeastern Minnesota. In the Philippines, her family lived in a refugee camp while her parents worked as social workers with Vietnamese refugees. When she was 10, her family moved from Hong Kong, a city of seven million, to a farm outside of Lanesboro, Minnesota, a town of seven-hundred people. This diverse childhood gave her both a connection to other countries and cultures, and a deep connection to farmers, food, and place.

Emily has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on food access and availability. She’s cooked in home and nonprofit kitchens all across the country, including working at a shelter for families who are homeless, and teaching cooking at a day camp where kids grow their own food in community gardens.

Trained as a journalist at Boston University, Emily has six years of experience communicating to a national audience, in both radio and print media. She was previously an associate producer on The Promised Land, a Peabody Award-winning public radio show hosted by environmental justice advocate Majora Carter.

Emily is a 2006 graduate of Boston University and lived in the Harriet E. Richards Cooperative House her senior year.

This biography was adapted from the Eat for Equity website.

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