Frances Moore Lappe

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Frances Moore Lappé, democracy-advocate and world food and hunger expert, has authored or co-authored sixteen books. She is co-founder of three organizations, including the Oakland-based Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy. With her daughter Anna Lappé she leads the Small Planet Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1987 she received the Right Livelihood Award (often called the Alternative Nobel.) Her first book, the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet, was described in 2008 by J.M. Hirsch of the Associated Press as “the blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint since long before the term was coined.”

Her most recent book is Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad, awarded the 2008 Nautilus Gold/“Best in Small Press” award. In June 2008, that book and Diet for a Small Planet were designated in The New York Times Review of Books as must-reads for the next U.S. president by Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan, respectively. Other recent books include Hope’s Edge, written with Anna Lappé, about democratic social movements worldwide, as well as You Have the Power and Democracy’s Edge.

In 2008, Gourmet Magazine named Lappé among twenty-five people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats. The same year Women’s National Book Association selected Diet for a Small Planet as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World.

Lappé has received seventeen honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions, including the University of Michigan and was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000-2001. She received the 2008 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture. See the JBF’s video introduction to Frances and her work here.

Articles by or about Frances have appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, The Nation, People, and more. She has most recently been featured in The Boston Globe, Sojourners, The Progressive, and on, The Huffington Post, Fox News, MSNBC’s Hardball, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with David Frost, NPR, and the BBC.

Since 2002, Lappé and her daughter Anna Lappé have led the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education to bring democracy to life. With her daughter, she is also co-founder of the Small Planet Fund, channeling resources to democratic social movements worldwide.

In 2006 she was chosen as a founding councilor of the Hamburg-based World Future Council. She is also a member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture and the National Advisory Council of the Union of Concerned Scientists. She serves on the board of David Korten’s People-Centered Development Forum. Lappé is a contributing editor to Yes! Magazine.

Historian Howard Zinn writes of Lappé: “A small number of people in every generation are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of green and power to hold a torch high for the rest of us. Lappé is one of those.” The Washington Post says: “Some of the twentieth century’s most vibrant activist thinkers have been American women – Margaret Mead, Jeanette Rankin, Barbara Ward, Dorothy Day – who took it upon themselves to pump life into basic truths. Frances Moore Lappé is among them.”

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