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James Beard Foundation Announces 2024 Leadership Award Winners


James Beard Foundation Announces 2024 Leadership Award Winners


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James Beard Foundation® honored the recipients of the 2024 James Beard Leadership Awards presented by Capital One at a ceremony and luncheon held in Chicago on Sunday, June 9, 2024. This event, hosted at The Dalcy, recognized outstanding leaders in the culinary industry who are driving significant change in food systems worldwide.

The James Beard Leadership Awards form a cornerstone of the Foundation’s Achievement Awards, alongside the Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year Awards. Each honoree was previously announced on April 3, 2024, marking their exceptional contributions to sustainable, equitable, and economically viable food systems for producers, workers, and consumers.

This year’s ceremony, hosted by Karen Washington, Co-Founder of Black Farmer Fund and Black Urban Growers, showcased the impactful achievements of the 2024 Leadership Award recipients. Guests enjoyed a specially curated luncheon prepared by acclaimed chefs Gregory Gourdet, C.J. Jacobson, Ēma, and Eric Santoyo.

“The Leadership Awards shine a spotlight on the inspiring individuals and organizations working to establish a more equitable, sustainable, and economically viable food system,” remarked Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the 2024 Leadership honorees for their vision and unwavering dedication to a more just and resilient food future. They truly embody our Good Food for Good mission.”

Reflecting the Foundation’s commitment to excellence, the 2024 Leadership Awards recognized achievements across key categories: Sustainability, Policy Advocacy, Industry Culture and Practices, Food Security and Access, and Emerging Leadership.

2024 Leadership Award Honorees:


  • Mai Nguyen, Farmer, Farmer Mai Mai Nguyen

Policy Advocacy:

  • Niaz Dorry, Coordinating Director, North American Marine Alliance (NAMA), Executive Director, National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC)

Industry Culture and Practices:

  • Muhammad Abdul-Hadi, Founder/Owner, Down North Pizza and Down North Foundation

Food Security and Access:

  • Helga Garza, Executive Director, Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network / La Cosecha

Emerging Leadership:

  • Christa Barfield, Founder and CEO, FarmerJawn

Each honoree’s work exemplifies leadership in advancing sustainability, equity, and community within the culinary industry.

The James Beard Foundation Awards are renowned for celebrating culinary talent and media excellence, alongside a commitment to equity and sustainability. For more information about the Awards and honorees, visit