Author of ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ comes to small-town Sonoma

One of the pioneers of “conscious eating” is coming to Sonoma next week - not to talk about broccoli rabe, veganism or the keto diet, but the reality underpinning it all: the earth is a finite place.

Frances Moore Lappé, author of “Diet for a Small Planet” and 18 other books - including her latest, “Daring Democracy” - will speak at the Sonoma Community Center (SCC) on Thursday, March 5.

“Diet for a Small Planet” came out in 1971, at a time when many, following the tumultuous 1960s, were turning away from political causes and going “back to the land.” The book raised awareness to the environmental impact of meat production and advocated for a vegetarian lifestyle for ecological reason, as well as health.

The concept of “protein combining” was also key to Lappe’s argument, that many indigenous people learned over time to match several plant foods (beans and corn or rice in Latin American foods) to create complete proteins instead of meat.

After “Diet,” her next book (“Great Meatless Meals”) continued the emphasis on healthy eating for the planet’s sake as well as the person, but over time Lappé became more overtly focused on the politics behind food scarcity.

“She was one of the first persons to link diet with a sustainable footprint on the planet,” said Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Peace Institute, which is sponsoring the talk.

Lappé will focus her SCC talk upon her 2017 book, “Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning and Connection for the America We Want,” which demonstrates the power citizens can wield “especially in relation to the climate crisis, inequality, and getting money out of politics,” as Kelly wrote in announcing her appearance.

Her lecture, “Climate Crisis in Focus: Finding Hope Through Democratic Action,” will take place at noon on Thursday, March 5, in room 203 at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St. Tickets are $20, available at Readers’ Books or online at

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