Stories / Foundation News, Impact

The 2016 JBF Food Conference

JBF Editors

July 12, 2016


On October 17 and 18, the James Beard Foundation will host the seventh annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference, "Now Trending: The Making of a Food Movement," at the Convene Conference Center (730 Third Avenue) in New York City. 

The phrase “Now Trending” has become commonplace in the global vocabulary, but how do trends come to be and, in some cases, take on a life of their own? While some trends evolve to the point of changing business models and creating social movements, others are fleeting ideas that vanish in a tweet. 

This October the James Beard Foundation will explore the creation and evolution of food trends and their impact on the food movement by bringing together a diverse group of experts from across disciplines to explore the genesis and lifecycle of trends and apply that knowledge to food-system issues. Using food waste and other issues that are now trending, the conference agenda will unpack the way interest and enthusiasm for a topic build to become a social movement.

Over the course of two days, speakers, panelists, and presenters will help participants examine their own influence in trend-making and their place in the food movement so they can be more effective and strategic in their work. Drawing on the influence of trends in fashion, television personality, and fashion consultant Tim Gunn will discuss the way trends impact individual behavior. Actress and JBF Award–winning cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey will debate New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik on the lasting value of food trends. Freedom to Marry founder Eric Wolfson will present lessons learned from the LGBTQ movement to help strategize for the food movement. Former Obama Administration senior policy advisor Sam Kass will go head to head with challengers to the very existence of the food movement. For more information and to register, visit

The JBF Food Conference will also include the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards dinner and ceremony on Monday, October 17, at Hearst Tower, co-hosted by Good Housekeeping. Now in its sixth year, the ceremony will honor six visionaries across a broad range of backgrounds who influence how, why, and what we eat. All six of the 2016 Leadership Awards recipients — Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, John Boyd, Jr., Anna Lappé, Jim McGovern, and Raj Patel — will also be participating in the conference.

Conference attendees are also invited to the official welcome reception, featuring the winners of the Blended Burger Project, on Sunday, October 16 from 6:00–8:00 P.M. at the James Beard House.

Founding support for this year’s JBF Food Conference was provided by GRACE Communications Foundation, with additional support provided by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the Blended Burger Project and the Mushroom Council, Bon Appétit Management Company, Karen Karp & Partners, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Good Housekeeping, Fairlife, and the Natural Gourmet Institute. 

Read the full press release here.