Frances Moore Lappé’s work has had a profound impact on civic participation, democratic movements, and social justice in the United States and across the globe. Author or co-author of 20 books, including her 1971 best-seller Diet for a Small Planet, Lappé’s work has educated the public on the global food supply and the role of democratic publics in addressing issues of hunger and environmental degradation. In 2002, she co-founded the Small Planet Institute (with her daughter Anna Lappé), a collaborative network for research and popular education to bring democracy to life, as well as the Small Planet Fund to channel resources to democratic social movements worldwide. Frances Moore Lappé received her undergraduate degree at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1966. Only five years later, she changed how we think about food, agriculture, and the environment with the publication of her three-million copy bestseller Diet for a Small Planet (Ballantine Press, 1971; updated 50th anniversary issue, 2021).
"Diet for a Small Planet: From Choice to Necessity"
Frances Moore Lappé shares her journey from an awakening that led to the three-million-copy Diet for Small Planet in 1971. Starting with events triggering her to ask, “why hunger?”, she describes how this question led her to a life-long quest probing “the question behind the question.” She identifies both the progress in both understanding and partially realizing holistic solutions to food and hunger as well as shocking, backward motion worsening ecological destruction and human health. The actions she advocated in 1971 as positive choices are now absolute essentials, Lappé explains. Throughout she stresses the “power of ideas” guiding human action—how limiting ideas have trapped us on the wrong path as well as how a new, more holistic “story” is emerging. From courageous actions across the planet, some in surprising places, she identifies a positive remaking of our understanding of human capacities that can inspire our effective action.
The William T. Patten Foundation
The William T. Patten Foundation provides funds to bring distinguished scholars or practitioners in the sciences, the humanities and the arts to the Bloomington campus for a week. The foundation has brought over 150 scholars of extraordinary national and international distinction since 1937, making it the oldest lecture series at Indiana University. Lecturers are chosen by a campus-wide faculty committee.
William T. Patten graduated in 1893 with a Bachelor of Arts in history from IU. He then moved to Indianapolis and led a successful career in real estate and politics. He created an endowment for the university in 1931, with the purpose of bringing renowned leaders to the Bloomington campus.
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