The James Beard Foundation has announced its annual Leadership Awards, which honor people that work in creating a more healthful, sustainable and safe food world. Now in its second year, the awards recognize specific outstanding initiatives as well as bodies of work and lifetime achievement.

The honorees were chosen by an advisory board comprised of a dozen of experts in various areas, as well as last year's recipients. The 2012 recipients will be honored at a dinner as part of the Foundation's third annual Food Conference on October 17, 2012. This year's theme is A Crisis in Confidence: Creating a Better, More Sustainable Food World We Can Trust.

Check out the recipients of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards:

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  • Wendell Berry: Author, Bringing It To The Table

    For the brilliant insight he has brought to America's agrarian movement for more than six decades. Learn more <a href="http://www.wendellberrybooks.com/" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Dr. Jason Clay: Senior Vice President Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

    For his efforts to study and address the global social, environmental, and economic impact of a variety of commodities, and his cross-sector work to improve the sustainability and supply chain management of these commodities. Learn more <a href="http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/experts/jason-clay.html" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary Of Agriculture, U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

    For her efforts to strengthen the critical connection between farmers and consumers, create new opportunities for farmers and ranchers, support regional food infrastructure and bring agriculture into our daily conversations through efforts such as USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Learn more <a href="http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=bios_merrigan.xml&contentidonly=true" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Tensie Whelan, President, Rainforest Alliance, and Co-Chair, Sustainable Food Lab Advisory Board

    For overseeing the transformation of the Rainforest Alliance into a respected international organization that works to transform land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Learn more <a href="http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/newsroom/experts/tensie-whelan" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Malik Yakini, Executive Director, The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN)

    For his work to ensure social justice, food equity, and food security to the people of urban Detroit. Learn more <a href="http://detroitblackfoodsecurity.org/" target="_hplink">here</a>.