Frances Moore Lappé Profile

Admired activist Frances Moore Lappé has driven an international anti-hunger movement since the 1970s. The founder of Small Planet Institute, Frances has argued that world hunger is not at its roots an agricultural issue, but rather, the result of ineffective government policies and corrupted democracy. She is recognized as one of the most influential figures in getting people to eat a healthier diet that also reduces humanity’s carbon footprint.

As the director of the Small Planet Institute, Frances oversees, coordinates, and promotes research that reveals how people on every continent are creating living democracies as they discover their power to remake societal rules and norms to serve their widely shared values. She and her team support this historic awakening through collaborative public education efforts with colleagues worldwide and through their own books, articles, websites, speeches, and other projects.

Author of 18 books, Frances’s 1971 Diet for a Small Planet was the first major book to discuss diet and agriculture’s impact on the environment.
• Recently, an updated version of her well-known book World Hunger: Ten Myths (with Joseph Collins) has been released. Both her writing and political activism advocate the need for “living democracies” – governments that govern for the public good rather than wealthy interests. In recent years she collaborated with the King of Bhutan to develop and write “Bhutan’s Happiness: Towards a New Development Paradigm”, a report that was submitted to the UN laying out a pathway to a sustainable development paradigm to ensure planetary wellbeing. During the latest presidential election cycle, she was a key figure in Democracy Spring, a ten day non-violent protest march to reduce the influence of big money in politics and expand and protect voting rights.

Frances is a founding councilor of the 50-member, Hamburg-based World Future Council. She also serves on the boards of David Korten’s People-Centered Development Forum, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Chez Panisse Foundation, and Earth Corps.

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    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 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.

    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.

Frances Moore Lappé Speaking Videos

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Frances Moore Lappé's Speech Descriptions

Balancing grace and a strong stage presence, Frances Moore Lappé paints an optimistic picture for the future of humanity and our planet citing four decades of progress in the expansion of consumer consciousness. Frances ties together social justice, organic living, and government reform, to show that solutions to global crises — such as hunger and climate change — are within our reach and power. Whether she’s examining agricultural policy or food justice, the respected activist shows us how we can cast away fear and create new possibilities in our lives, communities, and world, by “thinking like an ecosystem.”

Event topics include:

    • Food, farming, and the climate crisis
    • Living democracy and community empowerment
    • Reframing the environmental crisis with an "eco-mind"
    • Rethinking hope and power
    • The burgeoning ecological food-democracy movement
    • The roots of hunger and emerging solutions
    • And more!

What People are Saying about Seeing Frances Speak

Rating Entries

    “Frances Moore Lappé was amazing, inspiring, informative and hopeful!”

    “Frances Moore Lappé was so inspiring. She has a real grasp on the dire situation of the world and yet remains so hopeful. That is what I needed. There are so many doom and gloomers that are not effective because they make people feel they can’t do anything. Frances empowers us all to be the captain of our ships.”

    “I appreciated the broad perspective Ms. Lappé took—she painted the big picture for us. Her thoughts on the fact that we need to change our perspectives/mind maps/worldviews was significant for me—it was something I took with me throughout the week—I was able to contrast the positions from which people were speaking and was totally surprised by how some people seem to be firmly set in outdated and destructive mind sets. I was inspired to do more thinking and to ensure that I am more clear about the frame of mind from which I want to view the world, live my life, and promote well-being for others.”

    “Frances’ commencement speech was on target – she used the tree felled by the storm as a metaphor for the opportunity now to look at the “roots” of our system. Her personal anecdotes and a unique way of communicating the urgency and need for personal responsibility – her focus on possibilities – resonated with me personally, and I know everyone I spoke with after the event agreed with me that she was fantastic.”

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Books by Frances Moore Lappé:

Getting A Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want
Designated by The New York Times Book Review as a must-read for the next U.S. president, Lappé’s unique take and laser-like logic invite readers to try on a new, invigorating way of seeing the world. With her characteristic boldness, she takes on a set of disempowering ideas driving economic and ecological crises, challenging readers to rethink the meaning of power, democracy, and hope itself. In her punchy, no-holds-barred style, Lappé weaves together fresh insights, startling facts, and stirring vignettes of regular people pursuing ingenuous solutions. “My book’s intent,” Lappé writes, “is to enable us to see what is happening all around us but is still invisible to most of us—people in all walks of life penetrating the spiral of despair and reversing it with new ideas, innovation and courage.” This updated and revised edition responds to Obama′s presidency and the global financial collapse, concluding with reflection questions that are perfect for book groups.

Diet for a Small Planet (20th Anniversary Edition)
Here again is the extraordinary bestselling book that taught America the social and personal significance of a new way of eating—one that remains a complete guide for eating well in the 90s. Featuring: simple rules for a healthy diet; a streamlined, easy-to-use format; delicious food combinations of protein-rich meals without meat; hundreds of wonderful recipes, and much more.

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