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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 19, 2011

Francis Moore Lappé to speak on sustainable food and climate change Nov. 1 at UI

Frances Moore Lappé, author of the best-selling book Diet for a Small Planet and global food expert, will speak 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 at the University of Iowa in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The free lecture, entitled "Sustainable Foods and Climate Change: Fixing a Broken System," is sponsored by the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research with support from the UI Lecture Committee, UI Office of Sustainability, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Public Policy Center. A book signing will follow the lecture outside the Main Lounge.

Lappé is best known for her first book, Diet for a Small Planet, published in 1971. It has sold three million copies and is considered "the blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint since long before the term was coined," wrote J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press.

Diet for a Small Planet is a foundational book for modern vegetarianism and shows the social and personal significance of a new way of eating, featuring simple rules for a healthy diet, delicious food combinations of protein-rich meals without meat, and hundreds of recipes.

Her most recent work is EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want, released by Nation Books in September. In "EcoMind," Lappé argues that much of what is wrong with the world, from eroding soil to eroding democracies, results from ways of thinking that are out of sync with human nature and nature's rhythms. Humans are doers, she says, but our capacity for doing is undermined by seven "thought traps" that leave us mired in fear, guilt, and despair—none of which are motivators to action.

"Solutions to global crises are within reach," says Lappé. "Our challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps so we can bring these solutions to life."

In her talk at the UI, Lappé will share stories from people across the world to show ecological approaches have worked for them. "We know that we are aligned and that ecological approaches are sustainable and are more productive over time," Lappé said.

Lappé is also an advocate for food democracy, the right for all to have safe, nutritious food, and fair access to land to grow food and fair return for those who labor to produce it.

Throughout her 18 books, Lappé has stressed that hunger is caused not by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. Previous to "EcoMind," Lappé released Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want, a revision of the first "Getting a Grip" book. Other recent books include Hope's Edge, (written with Anna Lappé), Democracy's Edge, and You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear. Lappé's books have been translated into 15 languages and are used widely in university courses.

The recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the James Beard Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year award, she is the cofounder of three organizations, including Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. For more information on Lappé, see

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, UI Office of Sustainability, 319-335-5517,