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Frances Moore Lappe
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Frances Moore Lappé is the author of EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want (Nation Books, 2011) and 17 other books including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. She is the cofounder of three national organizations that explore the roots of hunger, poverty and environmental crises, as well as solutions now emerging worldwide through what she calls Living Democracy. With her daughter Anna Lappé, she co-directs the Small Planet Institute based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her book Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want (2010) was described by Barbara Kingsolver as a “new pair of glasses” through which “the world is more comprehensible, more manageable, even more beautiful.”

Lappé is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball and Fox News’ Fox and Friends, the Today Show, PBS NOW, the Diane Rehm Show, BBC, CBC, NPR and other media. Her articles and opinion pieces have also appeared in publications as diverse as The New York Times, O Magazine, and Christian Century.

In 2008 Diet for a Small Planet was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women’s National Book Association in observance of its 75th anniversary and was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats.

In 1987 Frances Moore Lappé became the 4th American to receive the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel.” In 2008, she was presented with the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture.

She is a founding councilor of the 50-member World Future Council based in Hamburg, Germany. In 1975 with Joseph Collins, Lappé launched the California-based Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First), described by The New York Times as one of the nation’s “most respected food think tanks.” In 1990, Lappé co-founded the Center for Living Democracy, a ten-year initiative to help accelerate the spread of democratic innovations. Lappé served as founding editor of the Center’s American News Service, which placed solutions-oriented news stories in almost three hundred newspapers nationwide. She also co-founded the Small Planet Fund, a subsidiary of Small Planet Institute, which gathers and channels resources to democratic social movements, especially those featured in Hope’s Edge.

Other recent books include Hope’s Edge, which Jane Goodall called “Absolutely one of the most important books as we move further into the twenty-first century,” Democracy’s Edge, and You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear.
Lappé’s books have been translated into 20 languages and are used widely in university courses.

Entries by Frances Moore Lappe

My Vegan BBQ at the EPA, Really

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 5:41 PM


On our first Earth Day in 1970, I was burrowed in the stacks at the U.C. Berkeley agricultural library writing Diet for a Small Planet.

Never could I have imagined that on this Earth Day I'd be celebrating at the EPA, enjoying...

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Seeds of Intimacy -- The Jane Goodall Effect

(4) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 5:41 PM

At the 92nd Street Y, I got to interview Jane Goodall on stage about her new book Seeds of Hope. Honored to be asked, a bit anxious about my role, I started cramming well beforehand.

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When Eco-Battle Cries Backfire

(5) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 11:00 AM

2014-03-11-695552819_ad6298303a_o.jpg"We've hit the limits of a finite Earth!" Ever heard this environmentalists' call to action?

If you have, it's probably made intuitive sense. After all, aren't ecosystems in collapse everywhere? The message warns us that we've crossed the line, and the...

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I Was a Covert Agent in the War on Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 9:02 AM

Okay, I didn't wear a hidden mic. (Did they have those in '67?) I didn't don gloves to mask my fingerprints that hot summer in Philly. But, I was truly an infiltrator, a provocateur-for-progress in the War on Poverty declared 50 years ago this month.

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Hunger: Measuring Progress Amid a Tangle of Contradictions

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 4:41 PM

We live in a strange, contradictory time.

As the Millennium Development Goals' target year 2015 fast approaches, the World Bank is already celebrating victories. We read, for example, that "target of reducing extreme poverty by half has been reached five years ahead of the 2015...

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My 5 Minutes at the World Food Prize Honoring a Monsanto Exec -- What I Wish I'd Said

(5) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 3:12 PM

Go here to view the above image and watch Frances' panel, "Stakeholder Synergies: Socio-Economic Dimensions of Sustainable Agriculture," at approximately 1:33:00 and Straight Talk on GMOs: Fact, Fiction, and Food Security panel at approximately 2:40:00.

I spoke in Des Moines, Iowa, last...

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Before You Give up on Democracy, Read This!

(4) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 1:40 PM

Who doesn't feel like throwing in the towel... with congressional approval ratings at a pitiful 10 percent? For pete's sake, even the much-reviled "socialism" has more than double the fans.

Yet a moment's reflection tells us we can't solve any of our giant challenges without public...

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What Five-letter Word Can't You Live Without?

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 1:18 PM

Here it is: Power. Now, quick, before reading further, close your eyes. What associations come to mind? If your list is full words like coercion, force, guns, oppression, domination, money, you could be in big trouble.


Turns out, our very idea of power...

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Break the Ban: Tell a Solutions Story Today!

(4) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 3:01 PM

"If it bleeds, it leads"... ever hear that maxim of journalism? If you want readers, go with the scary, gruesome story -- that's what gets hearts pumping and grabs attention. Yeah, but what grabs our attention can also scare the heck out of us and shut us down.


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After Boston, Eyes-Wide Open Hope?

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2013 | 12:17 PM

This is the fifth of a five-part, weekly series celebrating Earth Day.

How do we know the difference between head-in-the-sand hope and eyes-wide-open hope? One is a killer; the other, a life-giver. 2013-04-29-eye2.jpg

First, it helps to ask, what is hope?

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Mind Your Metaphors: Words Have Power

(2) Comments | Posted April 24, 2013 | 5:42 PM

This is the fourth of a five-part, weekly series celebrating Earth Day.

"We've hit the limits of a finite planet!" How many times have I heard this dire warning and felt myself banging against a wall -- ouch! Or, I've read that endless growth is killing our planet, and we...

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On Earth Day: Speaking to Our Nature

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 10:11 AM

This is the third of a five-part, weekly series celebrating Earth Day.

Earth Day is really People Day, isn't it?

The fate of Earth is now in human hands. And, recognizing this truth, some have named our era the Anthropocene. So it's high time that we get a grip on...

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Commons Care: How Wrong Was Garrett Hardin?!

(2) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 5:34 PM

This is the second of a five-part, weekly series celebrating Earth Day.

Honduras watershed management, Photo by EcoLogic

The biggest question facing our planet might be this one:

How do we protect, not what we own individually, but those indivisible goods...

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'Instant Gratification' -- My, How You've Grown!

(3) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 1:08 PM

This is the first of a five-part, weekly series celebrating Earth Day.

David Pogue in the New York Times not long ago extolled the wonders of LED lights, but lamented that the all-too-human weakness for "instant gratification" -- killed by LEDs' higher price tag -- will prevent them...

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Fear Kills

(4) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 10:26 AM

We see fear's face everywhere, whether in a Congress debating assault weapons or in schools introducing lock-down drills.

And for most species fear is, of course, key to survival. Sensing danger, a healthy animal experiences instantaneous physical changes that enable it to escape; then, once the threat has passed, the...

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Got Happiness? First UN International Day of Happiness

(9) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 3:36 PM

Don't laugh. It's true, and it's serious business. Today is the world's first International Happiness Day, declared by the UN to signal the importance of going beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of progress. We need, says the UN, better measures of society's real wellbeing -- including happiness.

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My Best Gift, Ever: I Saw the Solution to World Hunger

(10) Comments | Posted December 26, 2012 | 10:12 AM

In the late sixties, my life changed forever. I asked, Why are millions of people going hungry? Every other species seemed to have figured this one out -- how to feed itself and its offspring. So what's up with us?

Headlines screamed "scarcity," there's...

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This Holiday, Give Thanks and Get Real (About Our Food!)

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 11:47 AM

Fall is about food. Approaching Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, copious food-rich words are written before we all sit down with loved ones to celebrate food abundance. But in this fall food season, what do we most need to know about food for all seasons?

It is this: Our exceedingly bright...

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Facing Sandy's Fury, Don't Let Clean Energy Naysayers Deny Us Hope

(10) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 8:45 AM

Co-authored with Diane Moss*

As a historic storm hammers the east -- signaling the extremes promised by climate change -- maybe we should listen to the wind. Isn't it telling us to celebrate clean energy's potential and push it forward with new urgency?

Yet we hear instead what...

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The Biggest Mistake in Romney's "47%" Remarks

(4) Comments | Posted September 18, 2012 | 5:07 PM

When Mitt Romney -- echoing the writings of novelist Ayn Rand -- tells us that half of Americans choose dependency, he reinforces one of the biggest myths in America: the idea that we have to choose. We have to choose between the "individualism" of a Romney/Rand and the "socialism" of...

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