The Fellowship

The Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Fellowship in Environmental Studies provides an opportunity to bring world-recognized environmental scholars, activists, writers, and leaders to Colby College to engage the campus and community in lectures and discussions around important environment themes. Each year, the Environmental Studies Program at Colby honors one Distinguished Fellow, whose work bridges science and policy to make substantial advances in environmental conservation and sustainability.

Frances Moore Lappé, 2013-2014 Distinguished Fellow

Frances visited us September 30-October 2, and it was a wonderful start to a year of collaboration and discussion on global food issues. She visited Environmental Studies classes, took a walk to the organic garden with members of COFGA, shared phenomenal meals with students, faculty and staff, and gave a dynamic public lecture.

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Spring 2014 Visit

The ES program was thrilled to be welcoming Frances back to campus during the spring semester. She visited with us Tuesday, March 4- Saturday, March 8. It was a phenomenal week as summarize by one of our students:

Having Francis Moore Lappé—or Frankie, as she asked us to call her—on campus was an amazing and inspiring experience. Everything she did was done in a unique manner, and her positive outlook on the possibility of change and hope not just for the future, but for the people of today, was refreshing and uplifting. She reminded me of why I became an Environmental Studies Major. So often it seems that all we do is watch the parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere slowly increase and hold our breathe as the ocean levels rise, but Frankie reminded us of the power we each hold individually, and how by working together and with compassion for the environment and the people around us we truly can make a difference. All we need, as Frankie so eloquently put it, is an “ecomind”.

However, although both her speeches and readings were spectacular, what touched me the most was her constant interest in what we as students were doing. When I met her for the first time in the fall, we talked briefly about my plans to visit Belize in January for a tropical ecology class and to venture into the rainforests of Ecuador this summer to research a local tribe and their interactions with the environment. Later in the week I attended a lunch to hear her give a speech on her opinion of the decision to award Monsanto with the World Food Prize this year. I felt so small in the presence of such a powerful and respected enigma, but before her speech she came and sat with me to ask more about my plans for my research. The fact that she not only remembered who I was, but my plans, was shocking and flattering. She had a genuine interest in the passions and goals of the students at Colby, and she demonstrated it daily.

This Spring I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Frankie speak inspirational words she wrote over a beat laid down by a live reggae band. I have never imagined that my favorite concert at Colby would be performed by a reggae group from Massachusetts and a woman who, despite having children older than me, had enough enthusiasm, charisma, and spunk to fill the auditorium. The innovation behind this mix of academia and music allowed for students, professors, and children alike to come together and share the joy that we find in our field. It reminded us that age, race, musical preference and other superficial attributes are not important. What is important is our capability to come together to celebrate the beauty of the world around us, and to capture that energy and use it to create change. Because that is truly what Frankie wanted to relay to us, and I would personally like to thank her for dedicating her time and efforts into reminding students like me of what matters in our lives and for giving us the inspiration to continue to pursue our dreams of a better world.

One of the highlights of her visit was a concert provided by Frances and the reggae band, Liquid Revolution.  To see more about the concert and the inspiring work of France and the band take a look.


Events Open to the Public

SmallphotoFMLappeKamphausen(c)SteffiBehrmann09.previewFood as Power
Hear mother of the US food movement, Frances Moore Lappé, share her biggest “ah-ha’s” about the power of food to change us and change the world. Explore food as a cause and a solution to climate change. Learn about Lappé’s biggest puzzles, and requests for help. Come ready for surprises!
Tuesday, March 4, 7:00pm, Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond


Linking Global to Local Food Systems for Justice & Health
Wednesday, March 5, Parker Reed Room, SSWA
12:00 lecture
Dr. Molly Anderson, College of the Atlantic
Food system planning and governance is changing rapidly around the world, with many cities and states now working through multi-actor Food Policy Councils on food issues that affect the environment, jobs,tourism, public health, and other aspects of public life. In Maine, a group has been working toward a state- wide Food Strategy for a couple of years, while people around New England have come together in a regional network, based at the University of New Hampshire, called Food Solutions New England.




Reading at Barrels Community Market, Downtown Waterville
Thursday, March 6, 5:30-7:00pm
Frances will read from Hope’s Edge. A light reception will follow.


Liquid Revolution band standingLITEBOX


Believing is Seeing concert
Saturday, March 8, Page Commons, Cotter Union, 7:30-10pm.
A concert at the core, Frances layers in spoken word excerpts from her latest book EcoMind, bringing together the deep rooted groove of reggae music with her inspiring ideas about the socioeconomic issues of today. Please join world-renowned author Frances Moore Lappé, reggae artist Matt Jenson, and Liquid Revoltuon Band for a unique evening of mixed music and poetry.

For more information about these events contact Lia Morris, Fellowship Coordinator.


Invitation Only Events:

Cooking demonstration with Frances and Colby’s head chef

Frances’s favorite recipes dinner

Breakfast opportunities with Frankie

Class visits

Food themed tour of the Colby College of Museum of Art

Diet for a Small Planet potluck


Fall 2013 Visit

Her lecture was titled Food as Teacher: Four Decades Later What Have We Learned (slides)

Colby news article

Morning Sentinel article

Biography for Frances Moore Lappé

Lappé giving Fall 2013 Andrew W. Mellon keynote lecture

Lappé giving Fall 2013 Andrew W. Mellon keynote lecture

Frances Moore Lappé, best-selling author of Diet for a Small Planet and 17 books since, shared her personal journey, from her first epiphany about world hunger in Berkeley’s library back in 1970 to her most current work, including her upcoming challenge to the World Food Prize. She spoke not just to dietary and personal choices, but to the politics of food, answering questions about the root causes of hunger, the role of GMOs, and the conditions we create as a society that bring out the best and worst in us.

Frances will return to campus in early March so stay tuned for more events.

Frances Moore Lappé is the author or co-author of 18 books including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. Her most recent work, released by Nation Books in September 2011, is EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want, winner of a silver medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Environment/Ecology/Nature category. Jane Goodall called the book “powerful and inspiring. “Ecomind will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it,” she said. She is the cofounder of three organizations, including Oakland based think tank Food First 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. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide.

Frances makes frequent media appearances, including on the Today Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox News’ Fox & Friends,, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘The National’, Frost Over the World, NPR, and the BBC, among other news outlets.lappelectureweb


In 1987 Frances received the Right Livelihood Award (considered an “Alternative Nobel”) “for revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them.” Her first book, Diet for a Small Planet, 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. In 2008 Diet for a Small Planet was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women’s National Book Association in observance of its 75th anniversary Frances was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats.


Previous to EcoMind, Frances released Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want, a thorough revision of Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad, which received the Nautilus Gold/”Best in Small Press” award. In 2008, Getting a Grip along with Diet for a Small Planet were designated as “must reads” for the next U.S. president (by Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan, respectively) in The New York Times Sunday Review of Books. 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.


Frances has received 18 honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions, including The University of Michigan. In 1985, she was a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California, Berkeley and from 2000 to 2001, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2008 she received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture. Other notable awards include the International Studies Association’s 2009 Outstanding Public Scholar Award, and in 2011, the Nonino Prize in Italy for her life’s work. In 2007 Frances became a founding member of the World Future Council, based in Hamburg, Germany. Frances also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, on the International Board of Advisors of Grassroots International and on the Value [the] Meal Advisory Board of Corporate Accountability International. She is also a member of the Sisters on the Planet network, part of Oxfam America.



Past Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Fellows

Dr. Carl Safina, 2012-201