Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé is the author or co-author of 18 books including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. Her most recent work, released by Nation Books in September 2011, is EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want, winner of a silver medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Environment/Ecology/Nature category. Jane Goodall called the book "powerful and inspiring. "Ecomind will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it," she said. She is the cofounder of three organizations, including Oakland based think tank Food First and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide.Currently, she and Joseph Collins are rewriting their classic World Hunger: 12 Myths, to be published by Grove Press in 2015.

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.

—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

Frances makes frequent media appearances, including on the Today Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox News' Fox & Friends,, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's 'The National', Frost Over the World, NPR, and the BBC, among other news outlets.

In 1987 Frances received the Right Livelihood Award (considered an "Alternative Nobel") "for revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them." Her first book, Diet for a Small Planet, has sold three million copies and is considered "the blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint since long before the term was coined," wrote J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press. In 2008 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 Frances was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats.

Previous to EcoMind, Frances released Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want, a thorough revision of Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad, which received the Nautilus Gold/"Best in Small Press" award. In 2008, Getting a Grip along with Diet for a Small Planet were designated as "must reads" for the next U.S. president (by Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan, respectively) in The New York Times Sunday Review of Books. Other recent books include Hope's Edge (written with Anna Lappé), Democracy's Edge, and You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear. Lappé's books have been translated into 15 languages and are used widely in university courses.

Frances has received 18 honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions, including The University of Michigan. In 1985, she was a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California, Berkeley and from 2000 to 2001, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2008 she received the 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. Other notable awards include the International Studies Association's 2009 Outstanding Public Scholar Award, and in 2011, the Nonino Prize in Italy for her life's work. In 2007 Frances became a founding member of the World Future Council, based in Hamburg, Germany. Frances also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, on the International Board of Advisors of Grassroots International and on the Value [the] Meal Advisory Board of Corporate Accountability International. She is also a member of the Sisters on the Planet network, part of Oxfam America.

Frances appears frequently as a public speaker and on radio, and is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and Alternet. She is also a contributing editor at Yes! Magazine and Solutions Journal. Articles featuring or written by Frances have also appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper's, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, People, and more.

Some of the twentieth century’s most vibrant activist thinkers have been American women—Margret Mead, Jeanette Rankin, Barbara Ward, Dorothy Day—who took it upon themselves to pump life into basic truths. Frances Moore Lappé is among them.

The Washington Post

Advisory Posts and Boards
  • In 2006 Frances was chosen as a founding councilor of the 50-member, Hamburg-based World Future Council.
  • She is a member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture.
  • Frances is also on the board of David Korten’s People-Centered Development Forum and serves on the advisory boards of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Chez Panisse Foundation, and Earth Corps.
  • In 2011, Frances joined the advisory board of the television series, Kiss the Cook and the Farmer Too. The 13-part series illustrates that "we are what we eat and that ways in which we produce, prepare, and consume food not only affects our personal health and well being but also the health of our environment and our communities."
  • In 2013, Frances was invited by the King of Bhutan to serve on the International Working Group for a New Development Paradigm. She contributed to Bhutan’s Happiness: Towards a New Development Paradigm, submitted to the UN in December of 2013 laying out a pathway to a sustainable development paradigm to ensure planetary wellbeing.
Teaching and Scholarly Positions
  • From 1984-1985 Frances was a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Social Change, at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • From 2000-2001 Frances was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • In 2003, Frances taught with Dr. Vandana Shiva in Dehra Dun, India, about the roots of world hunger, sponsored by the Navdanya Research and Agricultural Demonstration Center.
  • In 2004, Frances taught a course on Living Democracy at Schumacher College in England.
  • In 2006 and 2008, Frances was a visiting professor at Suffolk University, Boston.
  • Women Greening Food, Audubon Society, 2014.
  • 2013 Humanist of the Year, Boston Ethical Society, 2013.
  • Friend of the Earth, Salem State University, 2013.
  • Independent Publisher Book Awards/Silver Medal, for EcoMind, 2012.
  • Nonino Rist D’Aur Prize, for her life‟s work, Italy 2011.
  • Outstanding Public Scholar Award, International Political Economy section of the International Studies Association, 2009.
  • Open Center Award, New York Open Center for “shaping a new understanding of the interrelationships among local food, agricultural sustainability, and living democracy,” 2008.
  • Nautilus Gold/Best in Small Press, for Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, 2008.
  • James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, 2008.
  • Lifetime Service Award to Increase Planetary Awareness, AltWheels Alternative Transportation Festival, 2006 (along with biologist and author, E.O. Wilson).
  • Rachel Carson Environmental Achievement Award, The National Nutritional Foods Association, 2003.
  • Nautilus Award/Best in Social Change, for Hope’s Edge, 2003.
  • Nutrition Hall of Fame, Natural Health Magazine, 2000.
  • The Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel, 1987.
  • The Harry Chapin Media Award (formerly the World Hunger Media Award), 1982.