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Ultimate Game Changers in Food

by Nicki on October 22, 2010

The Huffington Post chose their Ultimate Game Changers in Food, but I’m gonna give you my picks. No small feat in a list that includes the First Lady with a green thumb Michelle Obama, the in-your-face, stomach of steel Anthony Bourdain, enterprising tour de force Martha Stewart, and Top Chef Tom Colicchio, but my top three are:

Sam Calagione… for breaking the corporate grip on American beer, and treatig beer with the same care and attention as wine. As founder and CEO of the outstanding Dogfish Head Brewery, Calagione has tested ancient beer recipes and traveled to every continent for unusual ingredients. His efforts have paid off, as Dogfish has picked up 2 BevStar Awards and a medal at the World Beer Cup.

Michel Nischan… for bringing sustainable, affordable local food produce to Americans on a budget. Founded in 2008, Nischan’s Wholesome Wave Foundation works with community organizers to increase access to affordable local food. The foundation has successfully convinced farmers’ markets from Connecticut to Florida to accept food stamps, and in some cases opened new markets near poorer, isolated neighborhoods.

Barbara Kowalcyk… for taking on the food regulators who failed her son. Nearly 10 years ago, Kowalcyk’s healthy two-year-old son Kevin died of E. Coli poisoning from a hamburger. A trained biostatistician, Kowalcyk traced the contamination back to a company that had twice failed a U.S. Department of Agriculture Salmonella test just a year earlier. The company did not recall their meet until a month after her son fell sick. Appalled at the gaps in the system, Kowalcyk and her mother founded the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, conducting data-heavy research and pushing for companies to stop blaming consumers. Kowalcyk joined a USDA oversight board in 2005, served on two National Academy of Science committees, has been a key advocate for tighter regulation of the food industry, and was prominently featured in the 2008 documentary Food Inc. Kowalcyk was one of four recipients of the 2010 Lennon Ono Grant For Peace, a biannual $50,000 award.

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