Building a better food system requires hard work and perseverance. At Food Tank, we are continuously inspired by the people who have dedicated their lives to making food more sustainable, equitable, and nutritious.
Food Tank is recognizing these 21 older advocates, innovators, and farmers who are still changing the food system later in their lives. Their contributions to food and agriculture have produced more sustainable growing practices, sparked a global community of food advocates, and inspired the next generation of food innovation.
- Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish
Abouleish is a chemist, medical doctor, and founder of the Egyptian sustainable development initiative SEKEM. Among other sustainable development goals, SEKEM works with communities to establish biodynamic agriculture projects in some of the most ecologically challenging regions of Egypt. Abouleish is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the German Federal Cross of Merit.
- Will Allen
Allen is a pioneer of urban farming, and the founder and CEO of Growing Power. Growing Power is a nonprofit organization that provides training and technical assistance for developing urban farming projects and community-based food systems. Today, the organization is involved in more than 70 projects and outreach programs across the country. Allen has been awarded the John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” and been named a McArthur Fellow.
- Patrus Ananius
Ananius is a Brazilian politician, former mayor of Belo Horizonte, and creator of the renowned food sovereignty model in that city. As mayor, Ananias declared the right to food fundamental in Belo Horizonte, creating numerous public programs to stimulate urban agriculture, generate jobs, and make nutritious food accessible. Ananius also served as the Minister for Social Development and the Fight Against Hunger, and he developed the Zero Hunger Strategy in Brazil. He is a recipient of the Future Policy Award and a member of the World Future Council.
- Wendell Berry
Berry is an author, farmer, environmental activist, and prominent advocate for rural America. Berry is known for a broad body of work that encompasses poetry, novels, essays, and other works of nonfiction. He is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, among numerous other recognitions. Berry is the first living writer to be inducted into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame.
- Eliot Coleman
Coleman is an author, educator, and owner-operator of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. He is the author of The New Organic Grower, Four Season Harvest, and The Winter Harvest Handbook. Coleman served as the executive director of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and advised the U.S. Department of Agriculture during their 1979 to 1980 study, entitled Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming.
- Temple Grandin
Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a leading designer of livestock handling facilities. After an in-depth photographic study of standard facilities, Grandin developed the highest standard in humane animal handling systems, which is now used worldwide. She also developed an objective scoring system for assessing the humane handling of livestock. Grandin is a recipient of the OIE World Organization for Animal Health in Paris, France, for her work on developing animal welfare guidelines.
- Wenonah Hauter
Wenonah Hauter is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch. Hauter draws on three decades of work in food, water, energy, and environmental issues in her national advocacy and policy work. Her 2012 book, Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America, explores corporate control over the food system. Hauter has mentored hundreds of organizations that are working at the local, state, and national level.
- Eric Holt-Giménez
Holt-Giménez is an agroecologist, political economist, and the executive director of Food First. Food First is a network of activists and researchers developing the educational resources to support communities in their fight for food system change. Holt-Giménez is the co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice with Raj Patel and Annie Shattuck, and author of the book Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture.
- Wes Jackson
Jackson is the founder and former president of The Land Institute, a nonprofit organization that develops perennial grains, pulses, and oilseed-bearing plants as part of sustainable agricultural systems. He is the author of several books, including New Roots for Agriculture, Becoming Native to This Place, Consulting the Genius of the Place, and most recently Nature as Measure. In addition to speaking nationally and abroad, Jackson contributes to organizations including the Post Carbon Institute, the World Future Council, and Green Lands Blue Waters.
- Fred Kirschenmann
Kirschenmann is an organic farmer and president of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a nonprofit organization that connects farmers with the resources to develop sustainable practices. He shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Kirschenmann is a recipient of the One World Award for Lifetime Achievement, the James F. Beard Foundation Leadership Award, and the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from Practical Farmers of Iowa.
- Tim Lang
Lang is a professor of food policy and the founder of City University London’s Centre for Food Policy. Within his broad body of research, Professor Lang is perhaps best known for coining the term food miles, which explains the distance that food travels to reach the table. He has served as a consultant to the World Health Organisation, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and the U.N. Environment Programme.
- Frances Moore Lappé
Moore-Lappé is an author, speaker, and founder of the Small Planet Institute. A forerunner in the field of sustainable food systems, Moore-Lappé’s 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet sold 3 million copies and sparked a global conversation. To date, she has authored or co-authored 18 books and held several teaching positions. Moore-Lappé is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award.
- Larry Levine
Levine is the co-founder of Kids Can Make a Difference (KIDS), an educational program focused on the root causes of poverty and hunger, as well as the actions that students can take to make a difference. Larry Levine has personally taught the KIDS program in schools across New England and Metropolitan New York City. Levine serves on the advisory board for WhyHunger, a non-profit organization that fosters grassroots solutions to ending hunger and poverty.
- Jeff Moyer
Moyer is a farmer and executive director of the Rodale Institute, a research and advocacy organization for organic agriculture. Moyer is known internationally for his work in developing and popularizing no-till production methods. He is a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, and a project member of The Noble Foundation’s Soil Renaissance project.
- Gary Oppenheimer
Oppenheimer is a lecturer, environmental activist, and founder and executive director of AmpleHarvest.org. AmpleHarvest.org is dedicated to ending the waste of fresh food by connecting gardeners with food banks in their communities. Oppenheimer is a Rutgers Environmental Steward, a World Food Prize Nominee, and a Purpose Prize Fellow. He also serves as environmental commissioner in northern New Jersey.
- Ambassador Kenneth Quinn
Ambassador Quinn is the president of the World Food Prize Foundation. Ambassador Quinn assumed his current role following a 32-year career in the Foreign Service. He spearheaded the campaign that successfully raised more than US$30 million to establish the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Ambassador Quinn is a recipient of the American Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award and in 2014 he became the 23rd person to receive the prestigious Iowa Medal.
- Carlo Petrini
Petrini is a gastronomist, activist, and founder of Slow Food. Slow Food is an international movement to promote food that is “good, clean, and fair,” by preventing the disappearance of local food cultures. Petrini also cofounded the Italian food and wine association Arcigola. Alongside Slow Food members, Petrini established the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, and conceptualized the biennial Terra Madre festival and conference.
- Scott Pittman
Pittman is a farmer, agronomist, educator, and founder of the Permaculture Institute. Pittman has worked extensively across the U.S. as a permaculture instructor, including co-instructing courses with the founder of the permaculture movement, Bill Mollison. He is also the founder of the Permaculture Drylands Institute and the Permaculture Credit Union. He currently designs and teaches courses in the U.S. and Costa Rica through the Permaculture Institute.
- Arturo S. Rodriguez
Rodriguez is a farm labor organizer and president of the United Farm Workers (UFW). Since taking over leadership of the UFW from the organization’s founder, Cesar Chavez, Rodriguez has increased membership and led countless successful campaigns and contract negotiations. Rodriguez was instrumental in formulating the agricultural provisions of the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate in 2013.
- Karen Washington
Washington is an urban farmer, activist, and owner-operator of Rise & Root Farm. As a board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Washington worked with neighborhoods across New York to establish community gardens. Washington is a board member of Just Food, where she leads workshops on growing food. She is the co-founder of Black Urban Growers and in 2012, Ebony Magazine included her in their list of 100 influential African Americans. Washington is a James Beard Leadership Award recipient.
- Alice Waters
Waters is a chef, activist, author, and owner of Chez Panisse restaurant. Waters was a foundational part of the farm-to-table movement, as one of the first prominent chefs to focus on sourcing organic and locally grown produce. She created the Edible Schoolyard Project as a pilot for incorporating gardening and food into school curriculum and has been an outspoken voice for school lunch reform. Waters is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the James Beard Humanitarian Award.