Our annual American Food Heroes list honors 12 people doing extraordinary things to make food better in our country—whether it's through food policy, sustainability initiatives or life-saving nutrition research.
2018 EatingWell American Food Heroes

Welcome to our second annual American Food Heroes list, honoring 12 people doing extraordinary things to make food better in our country. They're the icons informing us where our food comes from, how it's produced and its impact on our health, communities and the environment. To compile the list, we called for nominations from readers as well as top experts to find out who has been making a real impact in the food space, particularly in the past year. Then our editorial team reviewed the submissions and winnowed them down to the winners you'll read about here. Prepare to be inspired!

Meet this year's American Food Heroes:

1. Julie Packard

Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Slavery Plagues the Seafood Industry, Here's How One Woman Is Making a Difference

Packard's new Slavery Risk Tool helps seafood buyers avoid fish from areas where forced labor, human trafficking or child labor may be occurring.

2. Chellie Pingree

Congresswoman, 1st District of Maine

Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Pingree is pushing to up organic standards and get more funding for organic programs in the farm bill.

3. Larry Clemens

Director of North America's Agricultural Program at The Nature Conservancy

Healthy Dirt? According to One Sustainabilty Expert, Our Future Depends On It

Working with farmers and ranchers to improve the health of their soil. As Clemens says, "The better the quality of your soil, the better the quality of of your vegetables."

4. Tom Colicchio

Chef and Owner of Crafted Hospitality restaurant group

Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio Is on a Mission to End Hunger for Veterans

Colicchio is putting D.C. politicians "on notice" about hunger in the U.S., advocating for food safety, nutrition and hunger issues-particularly school lunch programs and hunger among veterans.

5. Marc Oshima

Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of AeroFarms


Leafy greens are the biggest contributors to food waste in America. Oshima aims to change that.

6. Joann Lo & Jose Oliva

Co-Directors of the Food Chain Workers Alliance

Joann Lo & Jose Oliva

Their nonprofit advocates for workers all across the food chain by banding together 31 different organizations into one 340,000-member-strong group that, in the past year, has advocated for everything from supporting immigrant food workers to fair wages for restaurant staff.

7. Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.

Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University

Meet the Man Responsible for Getting Trans Fats Out of Our Food

His two-decade fight to get trans fats out of our food is now a reality.

8. Michel Nischan

Chef and Founder of Wholesome Wave

This Chef Is Working with Doctors to Prescribe Food As Medicine, And It's Making Patients Healthier

Providing healthy fruits and vegetables to underserved families through the creation of a produce prescription program called FVRx (Fruit and Vegetable Rx). The program is simple: health care providers hand their patients prescriptions for fresh produce that they can redeem for $1 a day per household member.

9. Katie Forrest & Taylor Collins

Co-Founders, Epic Provisions

EPIC Founders Are Changing the Meat Industry One Protein Bar At a Time

Their nose-to-tail meat snack company is committed to sustainable sourcing.

10. Paul Polman

CEO of Unilever

Unilever's Plan to Curb Wasteful Packaging Impacts All of Us—for the Better

A vocal champion of sustainability, he's working to reduce wasteful packaging, pledging that 100 percent of Unilever's plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.