2011 alum Jonny Hunter received the Forward under 40 a award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association for his innovative Underground Food Collective and work in food policy.
The Madison collective includes Underground Butcher; Forequarter Restaurant, which was nominated for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation and named among the nation's 50 best new restaurants by Bon Appétit magazine; Underground Meats, which has won three Good Food Awards for its charcuterie; and Underground Catering. The collective works with more than one hundred small Wisconsin farms, returning around $800,000 to producers every year.
Hunter earned a bachelor's degree in English in 2005, then returned to graduate school for a Master of Public Affairs because of his interest in food policy. "The University of Wisconsin has been the defining institution in my life," Hunter says. "As an undergraduate in the humanities, it challenged my limited perspective of the world. My graduate studies at the La Follette School of Public Affairs not only augmented my newfound curiosity with the analytical tools critical for decisionmaking, but provided me lasting mentorships that have supported me through my career as a small-business owner."