Stories / Awards, Impact

The 2018 JBF Leadership Award Honorees

Recognizing Five Visionaries for Their Work in Creating a Better Food World

JBF Editors

March 28, 2018


Photo: Ken Goodman

The James Beard Foundation is thrilled to announce the five leaders whose work will be honored at this year’s Leadership Awards on May 5, 2018.

“We are delighted to celebrate these visionaries working tirelessly to create a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable food world, as part of the James Beard Awards weekend,” said Clare Reichenbach, JBF chief executive officer. “How apropos that these awards speak so brilliantly to theme of this year’s awards, which will honor the collective spirit of our community and the power of food.”

This year’s recipients are: 

Dara Cooper
Co-Founder, National Black Food & Justice Alliance  
For dedicating her life to racial equity and justice in the food system and increasing capacity and visibility of Black-led narratives and work.

Ferd Hoefner
Senior Strategic Advisor, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 
For being actively engaged in federal farm and food advocacy for over 40 years and tirelessly making sure the voices of family farmers and the sustainable agriculture movement are heard on Capitol Hill.

Doug Rauch
President/Founder, Daily Table  
For his innovative work in fighting food insecurity through Daily Table and corporate leadership as the former president of Trader Joe’s Company.

Shirley Sherrod
Executive Director, Southwest Georgia Project
For defending farmers and farmer equity as well as building farmer coops in the South.

Ramon Torres
President, Familias Unidas por la Justicia
For leadership and organizing efforts in the formation of an independent indigenous farm worker labor union that won an historic collective bargaining agreement for farmworkers dramatically improving the lives of thousands of farmworkers and their families in Washington State.

Traditionally held in New York City in the fall, the Leadership Awards will take place in Chicago during JBF Awards weekend in May. “Since we began the Leadership Awards eight years ago, we’ve wanted to integrate them more fully into the larger James Beard Awards festivities,” said Mitchell Davis, JBF executive vice president. “The opportunity to highlight the honorees’ extraordinary achievements in often unseen areas of the food chain, and do so in front of the biggest and most important gathering of our industry, is a goal we’re happy to be able to finally achieve.”

The 42 previous JBF Leadership Award recipients are: Will Allen, Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, Dan Barber, Fedele Bauccio, Wendell Berry, Mark Bittman, John Boyd, Jr., Ben Burkett, Don Bustos, Dr. Jason Clay, Eliot Coleman, Debra Eschmeyer, Sheri Flies, Joan Dye Gusow, Hal Hamilton, Cynthia Hayes, Saru Jayaraman, Sam Kass, Jan Kees Vis, Navina Khanna, Fred Kirschenmann, Anna Lappé, Joan Lo and Jose Oliva, Congressman Jim McGovern, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Marion Nestle, First Lady Michelle Obama, Raj Patel, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Michael Pollan, Janet Poppendieck, Ricardo Salvador, Gus Schumacher, Olivier de Schutter, Bryant Terry, Karen Washington, Alice Waters, Craig Watson, Tensie Whelan, and Malik Yakini.

Read full press release here.

Learn more about the JBF Leadership Awards.