April 13, 2024

With a jubilant return to live action after two years of virtual programming, the annual Bay Area Book Festival will celebrate the essentiality of words and images Saturday and Sunday in downtown Berkeley.

Frances Moore Lappé, the renowned author of “Diet for a Small Planet,” and her daughter, sustainable food expert Anna Lappé, this Sunday in Berkeley will present “Mother, Daughter, Collaborators: The Lappés” at the Bay Area Book Festival. (photo courtesy of the Bay Area Book Festival) 

The festival’s 70 indoor events and 27 programs on outdoor stages will come with local and world literary stars, gourmet food vendors, a children’s area in Civic Center Park and intriguing presentations such as “Healing the World and Ourselves,” “What Has Oakland Taught Us?” “Black Women Writing on the Body and Mind,” “America in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth” and more.

During the pandemic’s isolation, many feel that words became vital and images precious — despite being shared at a distance. Encapsulating this, the presentation “Mother, Daughter, Collaborators: The Lappés,” will bring author Frances Moore Lappé to the Freight & Salvage lobby this Mother’s Day with her daughter, sustainable food expert Anna Lappé (baybookfest.org/session/mother-daughter-collaborators) from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Frances Lappé’s best-selling “Diet for a Small Planet” (of which more than 3 million copies have been sold), a special edition features a new introduction and updated plant-and planet-based recipes. The mother-daughter team will speak on principles in the book, the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund, two organizations they co-founded, and on engaged democracy involving civic participation.

In an interview with the Lappés, they spoke of collaboration and how they have grown together and as individuals while advocating for food justice and security in an evolving world. Frances says her childhood years never foreshadowed the day in the library at at UC Berkeley’s Giannini Hall at age 26 when she began researching the essay begun that became her first book.

Sustainable food expert Anna Lappé and her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, the renowned author of “Diet for a Small Planet,” this Sunday in Berkeley will present “Mother, Daughter, Collaborators: The Lappés” at the Bay Area Book Festival. (photo courtesy of the Bay Area Book Festival) 

“I grew up in a city with a nickname of ‘Cow Town’ — Fort Worth, Texas. I made a “C” on my first college paper. To think I took on the beef industry, became a writer? The fact I’ve written 20 books? I never would have expected that.”

Nor, she adds, did she predict that she and her daughter would become “seekers” and “possibilists,” as she says, their lives joined in harmony as they travel the world to discover and raise awareness about ecological agriculture, world hunger, industrial food production, political power and transparency and the promise of what Frances has termed “living democracy.”

Anna, likewise, finds surprise in work that consumes her time when she is not engaged with her husband in co-parenting the couple’s two young daughters. She is a bestselling author and founder of Real Food Media, which advocates for food justice through storytelling and critical analysis. Anna recalls that researching and writing “Hope’s Edge” in 2003 with Frances was a way to escape the boredom she experienced as a graduate student.

“I was drawn to help my mom. I wanted deeper learning. I started as a research assistant, then was made co-author.”

Through the process, she met food justice movement leaders and saw how American-based food corporations and trade policies had profound impacts on people worldwide.

Berkeley’s annual Bay Area Book Festival will return to live action Saturday and Sunday with 70 indoor events, such as the previous one above, and 27 programs on outdoor stages in the city’s downtown after two years of virtual programming. (photo courtesy of Michael Hitchner) 

“We hiked into the Himalayas and met people who’d never met people from the U.S. but were fighting U.S. agricultural policies.”

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ author, daughter to speak in Berkeley