Food movement pioneer returns to campus for lecture

Frances Moore Lappé will deliver “Food Justice for a Small Planet” as part of the Jean Thomas Lambert '45 Lecture Series on Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in the 1941 Room of the College Center at Crozier-Williams.

Lappé started a seismic shift in the sociopolitical aspects of food production and consumption with the publication of her 1971 book “Diet for a Small Planet,” in which she promoted plant-centered eating not only for its improved nutritional value but the impact it could have on hunger and the environment. She has subsequently published 17 more books that have changed the way people across the world think about food, nutrition and agriculture.

Her talk at the College will focus on food justice at both the local and global levels and the environmental impacts of our food choices.

“She will be sharing her extensive current research examining the policies and politics that have kept hungry people from feeding themselves around the world, as well as the misconceptions that have obscured our own national, social and humanitarian interests,” said Douglas Thompson, professor of geology and the Karla Heurich Harrison ’28 Director of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, which organizes the lecture series. “In the 40 years that she has been part of the food movement, the context of food justice has come to include pressing issues like GMOs, climate change, and free trade, which she will explore with the Connecticut College community.”

Lappé is the cofounder of three organizations, including Food First, a think tank; the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life; and the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide. This is her second appearance in the lecture series, which is hosted by Connecticut College’s Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment and named after an alumnus who was a faithful friend and supporter of Connecticut College and who cared deeply about the environment.

“When Frances gave a Lambert Lecture two years ago, she was so inspiring we knew we had to invite her back,” said Jane Dawson, the Virginia Eason Weinmann ’51 Professor of Government and Environmental Studies. “She is notable for the positive spirit that she infuses in her work and public lectures; even when we’re all bemoaning a ‘broken food system,’ nationally and globally, Frances finds a way to see the positive trends and extrapolate them in a direction that moves us toward hope rather than despair. In today’s world filled with ominous environmental and food predictions, it’s wonderful to hear someone who is thinking and acting positively, pushing us toward a solution instead of the usual doom-and-gloom scenarios that are so widespread.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. Lappé will sign copies of her books, including anniversary editions of “Diet for a Small Planet” and her latest, “EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want.” Both will be available for purchase at the event. For more information, contact Keleigh Baretincic in the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment at 860-439-5417.

April 23, 2014