By The American Bazaar Staff
NEW YORK: Navina Khanna, Fellow, Movement Strategy Center, and the co-founder and Field Director of Live Real, is one of the recipients of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Leadership awards for 2014, the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America.
Khanna won “for her work as a food justice activist organizing across communities for equitable and ecological food systems on local, regional, and national levels,” said a statement from the Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Manhattan.
In addition to maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs, the foundation has created a robust online community, and hosts conferences, tastings, lectures, workshops, and food-related art exhibits in New York City and around the country.
Covering all aspects of the industry—from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more—the Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America. The awards are presented each spring at Lincoln Center. Nominees and winners are fêted at a weekend of events in New York City that has become the social and gastronomic highlight of the year.
Khanna’s Live Real is a national initiative dedicated to amplifying the power of young people in frontline communities shaping radically different food systems through policy and practice. As a Movement Strategy Center Innovation Fellow, she applies lessons from other social justice movements to build a stronger, more aligned, and strategic food justice movement.
Khanna has spent nearly 15 years focused on transformative change through agriculture and food systems. Based in Oakland, she’s worked as an educator, community organizer, artivist and policy advocate transforming local, regional, and national agri-food systems from field to vacant lot to table.
Khanna holds an MS in International Agricultural Development from University of California Davis, where she developed curriculum for the first undergraduate major in sustainable agri-food systems at a Land-Grant University, and a BA from Hampshire College, where she focused on using music and dance for ecological justice. She is also a certified Vinyasa yoga teacher and permaculturalist.
The other recipients of the James Beard Foundation Leadership awards for 2014 are:
Mark Bittman – Author/Journalist, The New York Times: for using his international platform as a respected journalist and author to educate consumers about healthier food choices and to advocate for a better food system.
Ben Burkett – State Coordinator for the State of Mississippi, Federation of Southern Cooperatives; President of The National Family Farm Coalition; and Member of Via Campensina: for the positive impact this life-long family farmer has made through his support of the American family farm and advocacy for the rights of every individual to wholesome food, clean water, air, and land.
Michael Pollan – Writer/Journalist; and Professor, University of California, Berkeley: for the influence his books, articles and public appearances have had on the national conversation about important issues, such as sustainable agriculture, nutrition, food safety, farm policy, public health, and animal welfare.
Karen Washington – Urban Farmer, Community Activist and Former President, New York City Community Garden Coalition: for the impact her leadership has had on the revitalization of neighborhoods in the Bronx through the establishment of urban gardens, as well as her national appearances to promote green jobs, healthy diets, and community gardens.