The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts has selected researcher, activist and food system expert Danielle Nierenberg as the recipient of the sixth annual Julia Child Award. Nierenberg will follow in the footsteps of previous recipients that include José Andrés, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Danny Meyer, Rick Bayless and Jacques Pépin.

Nierenberg is the co-founder of the global convener and research organization Food Tank, a research and advocacy nonprofit which brings together a diverse group of thinkers and doers to engage in dialogue and form solutions to problems, including food access and affordability, as well as challenge equity issues like racism, sexism and classism.

Food Tank Summits have hosted hundreds of influential speakers before sold-out audiences across the U.S. and internationally, including Los Angeles last summer.

Nierenberg will receive the award at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., during a special ceremony that  kicks off the sixth annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend October 15-17, 2020. The award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant from the foundation.

“Food For Thought” panel in Los Angeles with Fran Drescher and L.A. Food Editor Michele Stueven (Courtesy Food Tank)

“During her many years as a global leader steering the conversation — and action — in food systems, Danielle has demonstrated a commitment to helping make the way we eat, cook and shop for food as sustainable and equitable as possible,” Eric W. Spivey, chairman of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts said in a statement. “While the jury selected Danielle before the pandemic, she is uniquely qualified to be the Julia Child Award honoree in 2020, as the importance of her work has never been more clear or needed.”

Nierenberg plans to use a portion of the award grant to create a year-long Food Tank food justice paid fellowship. This role will include helping Food Tank research and cover issues around equity and justice in the food system. Food Tank will also launch a multi-city series of Food Tank Food Talk Live events in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation.

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of this award and, in a small way, continue the legacy of one of the most revolutionary women in the food world, Julia Child,” Danielle Nierenberg stated in a press release. “It’s an honor for me and Food Tank to use the foundation’s platform to highlight stories of hope and success in the food system and amplify the work of so many organizations and individuals who are working to make the food system more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable — and also delicious and healthy.”

Created by Julia Child, the eponymous foundation is one of the leading grant-giving private foundations solely dedicated to supporting the field of gastronomy and the culinary arts. The Julia Child Award was established in 2015 to foster the legendary chef’s legacy, while also honoring an individual or team who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.

LA Weekly