James Beard, by Dan Wynn, ©Elisabeth Wynn.

The James Beard Foundation will present its leadership awards at an event in mid-October. The annual awards dinner – co-hosted by Good Housekeeping magazine – “celebrates visionaries responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world.” GRACE Communications Foundation also provides support. Now in its sixth year, the awards program acknowledges both specific work and lifetime achievement.

Among the award recipients? Anna Lappé, one of the most influential voices in the food movement today. An internationally known author and educator, she is regarded as an expert on food systems and as a sustainable food advocate.

She told me this last year:

“…we can all…eat more consciously. Find out where our food comes from, ask questions at our local supermarkets, read labels like a detective. Doing so, what many of us find is that the kind of food we want to eat – fresh, organic, whole food – isn’t available to us or to our neighbors. Eating more consciously makes us notice that and ask why? The mother of the farm-to-table restaurant revolution and edible education, Alice Waters, likes to quote Paul Cezanne who said: “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”

Read our Q&A with Anna.

Another award recipient is academic/journalist/activist/writer Raj Patel, who co-produces the Secret Ingredient podcast, which I love. The food system is complex and impacts every aspect of our lives…this podcast reflects that truth, taking listeners from local to global issues in the course of a single episode. Bonus: history lessons. Raj has also written a number of books. One of my favorites is Stuffed and Starved.

I’ve known Anna and Raj for a number of years (we were all Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellows.) Congratulations to Anna, Raj and all those receiving this important award. For a complete list of award recipients, visit the Foundation’s website.

You might also enjoy:

Our interviews with several previous award winners, including Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador, Jan Poppendieck and Mark Bittman.