by Patti Lynn
From seed to plate our food system is broken — and Corporate Accountability International leaders are making waves in their work to fix it.
I’m thrilled to announce that Sriram Madhusoodanan, director of the Value [the] Meal campaign, has just been named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader. And longtime ally, adviser, and founder of Real Food Media Anna Lappé will receive the James Beard Leadership Award in October.
Core to our work on the food system is connecting the dots between sustainable agriculture, food justice, public health, labor issues, and more. These prestigious awards signify we’re making great progress.
Shattering the status quo on health
As one of 40 Culture of Health Leaders nationally, Madhusoodanan will join outstanding individuals from across the country to participate in leadership development training and to collaborate and innovate to solve persistent problems. Culture of Health Leaders is a new program co-led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and CommonHealth ACTION with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“The inspiration and vision these leaders bring to our program is astounding, and they come at health and equity from every angle,” said Brian Smedley, Culture of Health Leaders co-director and executive director and co-founder of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. “They will redefine the way leaders in every field use their innovation and influence to shatter the status quo on health in our country.”
Madhusoodanan leads Corporate Accountability International’s campaign challenging the corporate breakdown of our food system. Partnering with labor allies, community leaders, educators, and parents, he has led the organizing challenging McDonald’s, the corporation that has done more to distort our food system than any other. In the past year, his campaign challenged McDonald’s political influence-peddling via the National Restaurant Association, brought together parents and educators to end the exploitative marketing practice called McTeacher’s Nights, and helped communities pressure hospitals to end their contracts with McDonald’s.
Promoting justice and equality
The James Beard Foundation is recognizing Anna Lappé as a visionary who is influencing how, why, and what we eat. “This year’s honorees are game-changers who have made an impact in improving childhood nutrition, fighting hunger, and promoting justice and equality in our food system,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.
“This is a particularly significant honor because of my respect for previous award winners and this year’s other honorees including Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Raj Patel [also a Corporate Accountably International adviser], Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, and John Boyd, Jr.,” said Lappé.
Lappé is a widely respected author and educator, known for her work as an advocate for just and ecologically restorative food systems. She is the founder and director of Real Food Media, a project of Corporate Accountability International. She founded Real Food Media to develop creative media initiatives that strengthen the food movement. Recent projects include Voices of the Food Chain, a partnership with the Food Chain Workers Alliance and StoryCorps. This initiative brought the stories of food chain workers from the field to the restaurant in their own words to millions of people around the country.
We are deeply proud of our remarkable colleagues who are challenging corporate abuse with passion, creativity, and commitment.