Frances Moore Lappé is an American original. New York Magazine dubbed her “Movement Mother” while the Smithsonian described this book as “one of the most influential political tracts of the times.” Gourmet Magazine named Lappé as one of 25 people—from Thomas Jefferson to Julia Child—whose work has changed the way America eats. Writing, either by or about Lappé, has appeared in Harper’s, New York Times Magazine, O Magazine, among others. Her media appearances range from the Today Show to Hardball with Chris Matthews, from Fox and Friends to the BBC and PBS Retro Report.
The recipient of 20 honorary degrees, Lappé has authored 20 books, many focusing on themes of “living democracy”—suggesting a government accountable to citizens and a way of living aligned with the deep human need for connection, meaning and power.
Her first book, Diet for a Small Planet published in 1971, has now sold three million copies. Its 50th-anniversary edition was released in 2021 with features in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and other major outlets. In 2019, The New York Times Magazine interview with Frances began: "Frances Moore Lappé changed how we eat. She wants to do the same for our democracy."
A sought-after public speaker, Lappé has been a visiting scholar at MIT and U.C. Berkeley. In 1987, Lappé received the Right Livelihood Award, often called the “Alternative Nobel.” She is a founding member of the World Future Council and serves on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Lappé is co-founder of three national organizations—Oakland-based Food First, the Center for Living Democracy (1991-2000), and her current home, the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute.
Praise for Frances Moore Lappé
“Frances Moore Lappé is one of the few people who can credibly be said to have changed the way we eat—and one of an even smaller group to have done it for the better.”
— David Marchese, The New York Times Magazine
“A small number of people in every generation are forerunners—in thought, action, spirit—who swerve past the barriers of greed and power to hold a torch high for the rest of us. Lappé is one of those.”
— Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States
"Some of the twentieth century’s most vibrant activist thinkers have been American women—Margaret Mead, Jeanette Rankin, Barbara Ward, Dorothy Day—who took it upon themselves to pump life into basic truths. Frances Moore Lappé is among them."
—Colman McCarthy, columnist at The Washington Post
“Frances Moore Lappé… kick-started a national conversation that went global about what we eat and how much agency we have in our food choices when your revolutionary book Diet for a Small Planet went to print in 1971.”
—Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe, San Francisco University, Director of International Studies Program