The James Beard Foundation is introducing a new awards initiative that will recognize organizations and businesses that are visionaries creating a more healthful, sustainable and safe food world.
Foundation President Susan Ungaro made the announcement during the foundation’s first national food conference, The System on Our Plates, which was held in Washington, D.C.
“For over 20 years, the James Beard Foundation has been awarding the most prestigious honors in the culinary world to chefs, restaurants, journalists, authors and media,” says Ungaro. “In keeping with our mission to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future, we are proud to be launching a new series of awards recognizing leaders and visionaries in the business, government and education sectors of our culinary world.”
Recipients of the inaugural James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards will be announced in the fall of 2011 at the second annual James Beard Foundation national food conference. Honorees will be chosen by a selection committee, initially comprised of a dozen experts who represent the nation’s growing commitment to advancing food quality and healthful, sustainable practices. James Beard Foundation Leadership Award honorees will have a role in nominating future recipients.
The James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, partially underwritten by a generous grant from the GRACE Communications Foundation, will name five to ten honorees annually in the following areas:
- Efforts to improve the nutrition of young people and end childhood obesity, from changes to school lunch programs to school garden initiatives and more;
- Initiatives that promote culinary literacy and more informed food choices;
- Communications, advocacy and policy change on behalf of healthier food choices and more sustainable food systems;
- Actions that bring urban families and rural farm communities closer together, from expanding farmer’s markets and farm-restaurant connections to community supported agriculture;
- Academic research to advance our understanding of health & wellness and sustainable agriculture and fisheries;
- Improvements in food safety, from agriculture to food processing, and the humane treatment of animals;
- Advancement of fair food trade practices;
- Alleviating hunger in the United States by improving access and affordability of good quality foods;
- Leadership in the areas of fostering and preserving biodiversity, farming for flavor and bringing added value to the work of small and middle-sized family farms;
- Institutional, foundation and corporate leadership on behalf of food-related social responsibility.
The honorees will include individuals, as well as nonprofit organizations, associations, small and large companies and government agencies. Awards will recognize specific outstanding initiatives as well as bodies of work and lifetime achievement. Among the criteria used to select final honorees are excellence of work, innovation in approach and scale of impact within a community or the nation.