Lisa Raiola, founder of Hope & Main in Warren, RI, will speak at the kickoff party to open Aquidneck Community Table’s annual Food Challenge this Friday at Innovate Newport in the old Sheffield School, 513 Broadway, Newport.  The event will run from 5 to 8 PM and will feature a selection of locally sourced foods and beverages included in the $20 ticket price.

“100 years ago, all food was local” says Raiola in a prepared statement, “and food was the basis of our economy”. Her vision in creating Hope & Main in 2014 was to grow back the local food economy by creating a community of support for local food entrepreneurs, cultivating an environment in which emerging culinary startups could test, create, scale up and thrive through access to shared-use commercial kitchens and technical resources.  

Five years on, Hope & Main has launched more than 200 businesses; graduated 40 new food entrepreneurs; created 350 jobs; and poured millions into the Rhode Island economy.

Lisa, a dynamic speaker and storyteller, has more than 30 years of experience in program development and advancement at non-profit organizations in healthcare and higher education. Currently the VP for Advancement at Roger Williams University, Lisa was previously a Clinical Assistant Professor for Community Health and Medical Ethics at the Brown University School of Medicine. 

Hope & Main and Aquidneck Community Table are aligned behind a common mission to generate a strong local food economy and an enhanced community understanding of the importance of healthy food for all.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to