Frances Moore Lappé

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Frances Moore Lappé
Frances Moore Lappe.png
Lappé in 2017
BornFrances Moore
(1944-02-10) February 10, 1944 (age 75)
Pendleton, Oregon, U.S.
Occupationwriter, activist, speaker
Subjectsocial change, living democracy
Notable works Diet for a Small Planet, Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, Getting a Grip 2: Clarity,Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want, Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, World Hunger Twelve Myths, Rediscovering America's Values, the Quickening of America, Hope's Edge, Democracy's Edge, You Have the Power, World Hunger 10 Myths.
Notable awardsRight Livelihood Award, Rachel Carson Award, Women's National Book Association, James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, nineteen honorary doctorates
PartnerRichard R. Rowe

Frances Moore Lappé (born February 10, 1944) is an American researcher and author in the area of food and democracy policy. She is the author of 19 books including the three-million copy, 1971 Diet for a Small Planet that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History describes as “one of the most influential political tracts of the times." She is the co-founder of three national organizations that explore the roots of hunger, poverty and environmental crises, as well as solutions now emerging worldwide through what she calls Living Democracy. Her most recent books include Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, coauthored with Adam Eichen, and World Hunger: 10 Myths. with Joseph Collins.

<i>Diet for a Small Planet</i> book by Frances Moore Lappé

Diet for a Small Planet is a 1971 bestselling book by Frances Moore Lappé, the first major book to note the environmental impact of meat production as wasteful and a contributor to global food scarcity. She argued for environmental vegetarianism — practicing a vegetarian lifestyle out of concerns over animal-based industries and the production of animal-based products.

National Museum of American History History museum in D.C., United States

The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves, and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history. Among the items on display is the original Star-Spangled Banner. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and located on the National Mall at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.



Lappé was born in 1944 in Pendleton, Oregon, to John and Ina Moore and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduating from Earlham College in 1966, she married toxicologist and environmentalist Dr. Marc Lappé in 1967. They had two children, Anthony and Anna Lappé. She briefly attended University of California at Berkeley for graduate studies in social work.

Pendleton, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Pendleton is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. The population was 16,612 at the 2010 census, which includes approximately 1,600 inmates incarcerated at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. The city is the county seat of Umatilla County.

Earlham College college in Richmond, Indiana

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Anna Lappé American writer

Anna Lappé is an author and educator, known for her work as an expert on food systems and as a sustainable food advocate. The co-author or author of three books and the contributing author to over ten others, Anna's work has been widely translated internationally and featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, O, The Oprah Magazine, Domino, Food & Wine, Body+Soul, Natural Health, Utne Reader, and Vibe, among other outlets. With her mother Frances Moore Lappé, Anna co-founded the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, an international network for research and popular education about the root causes of hunger and poverty. The Lappés are also co-founders of the Small Planet Fund, which has raised nearly $1 million for democratic social movements worldwide, two of which have won the Nobel Peace Prize since the Fund's founding in 2002. Anna's research on sustainable agriculture has taken her from Brooklyn to South Korea, China, Bangladesh, India, Poland, France, Italy, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and beyond.

Lappé has received 19 honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions, including the University of Michigan, Kenyon College, Allegheny College, Lewis and Clark College, Grinnell College and University of San Francisco. In 1987 in Sweden, Lappé became the fourth American to receive the Right Livelihood Award. In 2003, she received the Rachel Carson Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association. She was selected as one of twelve living "women whose words have changed the world" by the Women's National Book Association.

University of Michigan Public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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Kenyon College private liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio, United States

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Allegheny College Pennsylvania liberal arts college

Allegheny College is a private liberal arts college in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1815, Allegheny is the oldest college in continuous existence under the same name west of the Allegheny Mountains. It is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the North Coast Athletic Conference and it is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Throughout her works Lappé has argued that world hunger is caused not by the lack of food but rather by the inability of hungry people to gain access to the abundance of food that exists in the world and/or food-producing resources because they are simply too poor. She has posited that our current "thin democracy" creates a mal-distribution of power and resources that inevitably creates waste and an artificial scarcity of the essentials for sustainable living.

Lappé makes the argument that what she calls "living democracy," i.e. democracy understood as a way of life, not merely a structure of government. The three conditions essential for democracy, she writes in Daring Democracy and elsewhere, are the wide dispersion of power, transparency, and a culture of mutual accountability, not blaming. These three conditions enable humans to experience a sense of agency, meaning, and connection, which she describes as the essence of human dignity. Democracy is not only what we do in the voting booth but involves our daily choices of what we buy and how we live. She believes that only by "living democracy" can we effectively solve today's social and environmental crisis.

Lappé began her writing career early in life. She first gained prominence in the early 1970s with the publication of her book Diet for a Small Planet , which has sold several million copies.

In 1975, with Joseph Collins, she launched the California-based Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) to educate Americans about the causes of world hunger. In 1990, Lappé co-founded the Center for Living Democracy, a 9-year initiative to accelerate the spread of democratic innovations in which regular citizens contribute to problem-solving. She served as founding editor of the Center's American News Service (1995–2000), which placed stories of citizen problem-solving in nearly half the nation's largest newspapers.

Food First organization

Food First, also known as the Institute for Food and Development Policy, is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California, USA. Founded in 1975 by Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins, it describes itself as a "people's think tank and education-for-action center".

Frances Moore Lappé's works have been translated into 15 languages, the most recent of which is a Chinese publication of Hope’s Edge. [1]

In 2002, Lappé and her daughter Anna established the Small Planet Institute based in Cambridge, Massachusetts a collaborative network for research and popular education to bring democracy to life. With her daughter, she traveled the world and wrote Hope's Edge.The two also co-founder of the Small Planet Fund, [2] 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 Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists. She serves as an advisor to the Calgary Centre for Global Community and on the board of David Korten’s People-Centered Development Forum. In 2009 she joined the advisory board of Corporate Accountability International's Value the Meal campaign. [3] Lappé is a Contributing Editor to YES! Magazine . Her articles and opinion pieces have appeared in publications as diverse as The New York Times , O Magazine , and Christian Century . Her television and radio appearances have included a PBS special with Bill Moyers, the Today Show, CBS Radio, and National Public Radio.

Lappe receiving the 2008 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award Frances Moore Lappe receiving Humanitarian Award, James Beard Foundation.jpg
Lappé receiving the 2008 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award

In 2008, she was honored by the James Beard Foundation as the Humanitarian of the Year. In the same year, Gourmet Magazine named Lappé among 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats. Diet for a Small Planet was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women's National Book Association in observance of its 75th anniversary.

Lappé has also held various teaching and scholarly positions:

In 2013-2014, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Studies at Colby College in Maine. [5]

Historian Howard Zinn wrote: “A small number of people in every generation are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of greed 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, Jeannette Rankin, Barbara Ward, Dorothy Day – who took it upon themselves to pump life into basic truths. Frances Moore Lappé is among them."

Lappé's son, Anthony, is a New York City-based, award-winning, media producer, (Invisible Hand Media), whose works as appeared on Vice and the History Channel. Her daughter, Anna, who lives in Berkeley, California, is the author of Grub, and Diet for a Hope Planet. She leads Real Food Media.


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  1. New Chinese Publication Promotes Global Outreach of Ideas, Small Planet Institute (February 2011)
  2. "Small Planet Fund".
  3. "Value the Meal Advisory Board". Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  4. Frances Moore Lappé, Small Planet Institute

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