The Oxford/Lafayette Sustainability Leadership Award for Business was recently presented to Joel Miller, chef and proprietor of Ravine restaurant. The awards program is designed to showcase innovation and solutions, which in turn educate and inspire others. The annual Sustainability Leadership Awards (SLA), now in their second year, are a joint program of the University of Mississippi and the city of Oxford.
At his restaurant, Ravine, Miller emphasizes the importance of locally sourced foods. The menu notes that he composts, too, but his commitment to sustainable practices doesn’t stop at his own front yard.
Since spring 2009, Miller has served, without fee, as the host for a syndicated TV news segment that visits family farms in Mississippi, and then offers tips on cooking what they grow. These segments, intended to promote public interest in local sourcing, air on nine TV stations in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. He also hosts summer-camps for children, taking them to local farms to teach them where food comes from, and makes a special effort to engage underprivileged kids, to encourage an interest in growing and preparing food to help obliterate “food deserts.”
An ardent believer in community involvement, Miller commemorated Oxford’s recent Green Week observance by sharing the stage at Ravine with other restaurants for a “local chefs cooking locally” event that benefited the Oxford Food Pantry.