Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Representing the 1st District of Maine

Pingree Receives Leadership Award from James Beard Foundation

Oct 24, 2017
Press Release

NEW YORK CITY—At an awards dinner last night, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) received a 2017 Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation for her work on national food system reform. 

“I’m deeply honored to receive a James Beard Leadership Award and indebted to everyone I’ve learned from and worked with through the years to strengthen the nation’s food system,” said Pingree. “We’ve had some important victories, but there is still much to do to ensure that every American can access healthy, sustainable food no matter their zip code and that our farmers and fishermen have the resources they need to produce it. With this award comes a great responsibility to keep pushing toward those goals by using my experience as a farmer and advocate to help shape food and agriculture policy in Congress.” 

Pingree was introduced at the dinner by John Piotti, former executive director of Maine Farmland Trust who now leads American Farmland Trust. Her children—Asa, Cecily and Hannah Pingree—also attended the event (photo below).

James Beard Award

VIDEO: The James Beard Foundation produced a video tribute to Pingree available at

VIDEO: Earlier in the day, Pingree gave a presentation at the JBF Food Summit on how consumers are influencing food policy decisions in Washington. A video of her remarks is online at

The James Beard Leadership Award recognizes visionaries across a broad range of backgrounds who influence how, why, and what we eat.  Recipients are chosen by previous honorees, which include former First Lady Michelle Obama, Wendell Berry, Michael Pollan, and Eliot Coleman. 

Pingree is a longtime organic farmer who has made food system reform a priority in Congress. The last reauthorization of the Farm Bill contained numerous provisions she introduced to increase investments for local farmers and broaden access to healthy, sustainable food. In the current session of Congress, she has introduced three pieces of legislation to influence the upcoming authorization of the Farm Bill: The Local FARMS Act, the Organic Agriculture Research Act, and the Food Recovery Act. Information and updates on all three bills are available at