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New James Beard Leadership Award Announced

In 2011, the "Oscars of the food world" with be honoring more than just chefs. The newly announced James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards will recognize individuals, organizations and businesses who are visionaries creating a more healthful, sustainable and safe food world.

Five to ten honorees (individuals, nonprofit organizations, associations, small and large companies and government agencies) will be selected for their work in the following areas (to name a few):

  • Efforts to improve the nutrition of young people and end childhood obesity, from changes to school lunch programs to school garden initiatives and more.
  • Communications, advocacy and policy change on behalf of healthier food choices and more sustainable food systems.
  • Leadership in the areas of fostering and preserving biodiversity, farming for flavor and bringing added value to the work of small and middle-sized family farms.

The award could potentially have some high profile nominees, from Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign to the USDA's Know Your Farmer Know Your Food.

Sustainability and local food has been a priority since the foundation's inception in 1986. Its guiding force, educator and author James Beard, acknowledged the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and local food sourcing long before the slow food movement made it trendy.

Two recent Outstanding Chef Award winners are following in Beard's footsteps. 2010's recipient Tom Colicchio and 2009's winner Dan Barber recently appeared together along with Slow Food USA Founder Patrick Martins in a panel discussion at the NYC Wine & Food Festival to talk about their support of the local food movement and their passion for real food.

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