The entryway of a boutique hotel seems like an unlikely location for conversations about food insecurity or advice on the benefits of eating more vegetables. But these are the issues being tackled each Monday during Lunch Agenda, a new online radio show broadcasting from the LINE Hotel in Adams Morgan.
The program debuted in early January as part of a lineup of food, music and culture shows on the newly-launched Full Service Radio. The independent station broadcasts live online, where each podcast can also be consumed and downloaded on-demand.
“Given the fact that we’re situated in the lobby of the LINE Hotel, we have a unique chance to interact with travelers, influencers and creatives from all around the world,” says Full Service Radio Founder and Executive Producer Jack Inslee.
Lunch Agenda is a food show, but it’s not a place to indulge in juicy scoops or gossip about Washington’s big-name chefs or restaurants. Rather, it’s about amplifying the lesser-known voices and stories of the region’s food environment. This is a forum for people interested in pondering how produce is graded before arriving at grocery stores or debunking common myths surrounding hunger or food insecurity.
“Lunch Agenda is about learning,” says host Kirsten “Kiko” Bourne. “I’m going for education, not trends or star appeal.”
Bourne comes to the show armed with a broad background in the food world. She has worked in sustainable food in San Francisco and spent nearly four years leading the marketing team for the Capital Area Food Bank. She’s also done stints in restaurants and farmers markets, and is currently “Director of Breaducation” at the months-old Seylou Bakery in Shaw.
“I just feel like I’ve been afforded a really broad view of the food system,” she says.
That breadth of exposure helps shape and inform each of Lunch Agenda’s 30-minute episodes, which are live each Monday at noon. The program features a combination of interviews with all kinds of guests that are expected to range from policymakers to farmers.
“My goal with Lunch Agenda is giving the microphone to people who don’t as often have it in the food system so that others can learn about the behind the scenes,” Bourne says.
One of her first guests was Dominique Hazzard, an outreach specialist with DC Greens, an organization that supports food education, access and policy in DC. Future episodes will touch on things like tips for cooking on a budget or getting involved in local government.
Part of the show’s commitment to education is to provide listeners with a sense of agency around the weekly discussion topics. During each show, Bourne asks her guests for one piece of advice that can help improve the food system. The idea is to generate pragmatic action items that can be easily applied to daily life, such as working to eat more vegetables or resolving to cook at home three days per week.
“I’m hoping that what comes through in these conversations is the ability we all have to affect the environment,” Bourne says.
Lunch Agenda is one of a handful of food-focused programs at Full Service Radio, all broadcast from just inside the entrance at the LINE. It’s a diverse lineup that includes titles like Beer Me! – a show about all things beer – and Shift Drink, where local food industry professionals recount stories from their lives in the kitchen or behind the bar.
Most of the hosts, including Bourne, are first-timers at the gig. Her journey to become a Full Service Radio host started a couple years ago when she crossed paths with Inslee in Brooklyn, where he was working with Heritage Radio Network – a project he also helped launch.
Inslee tells On Tap he’s excited at the impact the station has made in such a short time.
“We’re still a baby – the best is yet to come – but we’ve already had some fun, powerful and diverse episodes including a cannabis tincture tasting, a conversation on sexual harassment in the restaurant industry and coverage of local food justice rallies,” he says.
For Bourne, it all comes down to exposing her audience to the events facing the local food scene – even if it’s for just 30 minutes a week.
“I really want to put faces to residents of DC that maybe my listeners aren’t in contact with as much, and humanize issues that are challenging in the food system.”
Full Service Radio inside The LINE Hotel: 1770 Euclid St. NW, DC; 202-588-0525; www.thelinehotel.com/full-service-radio