Stories / Foundation News

Letter from the President: Why Leadership Matters in the Food World

Susan Ungaro

Susan Ungaro

September 09, 2013


You only have to read the front page of a newspaper, flip through a magazine, or even glance at your Twitter feed to know that the world’s food system is in crisis. In our country alone, almost 15 percent of households are food insecure, American farmland has been disappearing for decades, and in the past 30 years childhood obesity has more than doubled.

Over the past several years, we have expanded our Foundation’s mission to address some of these issues and to establish and support links between the culinary arts, the community, and the key sustainability and public health issues of our time.

To encourage conversation about making our food world a healthier, safer, and more sustainable place, our Foundation gathered thought leaders three years ago for the premiere of an annual food conference with founding support from Grace Communications and Edens. In 2011 we established the James Beard Leadership Awards to recognize visionaries who are making a difference, and recently we held our first Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, where chefs learned how to be better advocates on important food policy issues.

This year’s JBF Food Conference will be held October 21 and 22 at Convene in New York City. We will be looking at the paradoxes of our food system, from hunger and obesity to consumption and sustainability. On the evening of October 21, we will return to Hearst Tower for our third annual JBF Leadership Awards ceremony and dinner co-hosted by Good Housekeeping magazine. This year’s honorees are Hal Hamilton, Cynthia Hayes, Marion Nestle, Ricardo Salvador, and Gus Schumacher. Find out more about these distinguished leaders and how you can join us at this year’s Leadership Awards at You can also register for the 2013 JBF Food Conference here.