Portrait of Trevino Sauceda with 2021 American Food Heroes written in the lower portion of the frame

2021 American Food Heroes

Our fifth annual list of people who are changing the food world in innovative and meaningful ways. Each of these visionaries exemplifies what’s possible when passion meets action.
Jonathan Kauffman
June 08, 2021

If there was ever a time for visionary leadership, it was 2020, one of the most tumultuous years in living memory. So this year EatingWell is particularly thrilled to present our fifth class of American Food Heroes: 10 brilliant farmers, corporate executives, doctors, advocates and chefs—some of whom wear many of these hats at the same time.

Each year since 2017, our editors have consulted with experts around the country as well as you, our readers, to nominate people who are changing the way we eat. We've chosen many of this year's honorees for the ways they have illuminated new paths out of the morass of problems our country has been dealing with. Be it distributing masks and meals, championing plant-based eating to help both people and planet, or supporting young farmers, they're building an America that is more environmentally responsible, more racially and economically equitable, and healthier. Most of all, they show that change is possible—and how all of us, working together, can accomplish it.

Portrait of Trevino Sauceda

Without migrant farm workers, there would be no food system. Here is what Mily Treviño-Sauceda and her grassroots organizations are doing to help.

Credit: KREMER JOHNSON
Portrait of Chris Bradshaw

The enrollment for the D.C-area CSA jumped from 150 to 1,200 in 2020.

Credit: BILL WADMAN
Portrait of Birgit Cameron

Under co-founder, Birgit Cameron's, leadership, Patagonia Provisions has championed sustainable ingredients and helped spearhead a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC).

Credit: Craig Lee
Portrait of Bruce Friedrich

Bruce Friedrich's Good Food Institute, which he founded in 2016, is committed to fighting climate change and reforming food systems via plant-based and lab-grown meat alternatives.

Credit: BILL WADMAN
Portrait of guy-fieri

Fieri helped raise more than $22 million for restaurant workers through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

Credit: Getty Images / NBC
Portrait of Timothy Harlan

Timothy Harlan, executive director at the George Washington University Culinary Medicine Program, developed the "Health meets Food" nutrition and cooking curriculum for health professionals that's taught to medical students, residents and clinicians at over 60 medical schools and institutions across the country.

Credit: BILL WADMAN
Portrait of Shirley Sherrod

Shirley Sherrod co-founded the Southwest Georgia Project and New Communities, Inc. with her husband and has been dedicated to advocacy for most of her 73 years.

Portrait of Brian Niccol

Check out how chairman and CEO, Brian Niccol, helped the food giant promote sustainability through their business decisions and food offerings.

Credit: KREMER JOHNSON
Portrait of sean-sherman

Sean Sherman, a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, secured funding to prepare and deliver 10,000 nutritious, culturally relevant meals to Native populations during the pandemic.

Credit: Nate Ryan
Portrait of Beth Ford

President & CEO of Land O'Lakes, Beth Ford, partnered with Microsoft to help bring broadband access and cutting-edge equipment to farmers.

Credit: Nate Ryan