James Beard Foundation Announces Leadership Award Winners

The James Beard Foundation announced the recipients of the sixth annual James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards. The 2016 honorees will be recognized at the annual awards dinner on October 17 at Hearst Tower as part of the JBF Food Conference in New York City. Food Tank is a media partner for this event.

The honorees are Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, John Boyd, Jr., Anna Lappé, Jim McGovern, and Raj Patel. JBF President Susan Ungaro says, “This year’s honorees are game-changers who have made an impact in improving childhood nutrition, fighting hunger, and promoting justice and equality in our food system.”

Instead of culinary accomplishments, the Leadership Awards recognize specific outstanding initiatives and lifetime achievement in the realms of sustainability, food access, and public health. JFB aims to bring awareness to these issues by spotlighting visionaries in these fields.

The selection criteria for this year include excellence of work, innovation in approach, and scale of impact either within a community or across the nation. Honorees were selected by previous winners.

JBF has chosen to recognize the honorees for the following reasons:

Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, co-founders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, are being recognized “for their innovative work in forging a new human rights model in the food industry supply chain.” The group works to propel social responsibility and prevent human trafficking and gender-based violence at work. Their Fair Food Program is a model for Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) and brings together farmworkers, growers, and retailers to improve worker rights.

John Boyd, Jr., the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), is being recognized “for his leadership in the fight for African-American farmers’ civil rights. The NBFA’s education and advocacy efforts have been focused on civil rights, land retention, access to capital, agricultural training, and rural economic development for black and other small farmers. Their efforts help to empower and strengthen farmers and farming communities throughout the country.

Anna Lappé, the founder of the Small Planet Institute and the founder and director of Real Food Media, is being recognized “for her work as an author, educator, and sustainable food advocate.” Anna is a leader in the sustainable food movement, focusing on exposing the root causes of hunger and poverty while highlighting movements around the world that are making positive change. Through the use of new media and traditional speaking and writing, Anna is at the forefront of the sustainable food movement.

Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts is being recognized “for his leadership as an advocate in the fight against hunger.” Through the #EndHungerNow campaign, McGovern works to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in Congress as well as highlight organizations and companies working to end hunger nationwide.

Raj Patel, an author, activist, and academic, is being recognized “for his scholarship and advocacy work to change the inequalities in our world’s food system." Patel aNew York Times bestselling author, a distinguished documentarian, the author of many investigative pieces about the injustices of the food system, and a professor at the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin.

Previous winners have included Wendell Berry, Mark Bittman, Dr. Jason Clay, Debra Eschmeyer, Sam Kass, Fred Kirschenmann, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Marion Nestle, First Lady Michelle Obama, Michael Pollan, Karen Washington, Alice Waters, and more.

The JBF Leadership Awards are co-hosted by Good Housekeeping, with founding support from the GRACE Communications Foundation. The awards ceremony will take place on October 17 as part of the seventh annual JBF Food Conference in New York City. Tickets for the dinner are available for the general public, and at a reduced price for conference attendees.

The JBF Food Conference will take place on October 17 and 18 at the Convene Conference Center. This year’s event theme is "Now Trending: The Making of a Food Movement," and it will explore the nature of trends and how they apply to the food system. Discussions will draw on the experience of other trend-focused industries, including technology, fashion, and design, to examine what fuels trends. In addition, participants will discuss trending issues in the food world, such as reducing waste, in order to understand how to build interest, enthusiasm, and action surrounding important topics.

Speakers at the conference will include notable figures in the food world, such as Simran Sethi, author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate; Sam Kass, former White House chef and Obama Administration nutrition policy advisor; and Tamar Haspel, journalist for The Washington Post. Leaders from other fields will also lend their expertise as speakers at the event, including Tim Gunn, Project Runway mentor; Mitch Baranowski, creative director, brand marketer, and entrepreneur; and Paco Underhill, CEO and founder of Envirosell.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.