Plate of the Union Announces National Advisory Board Members

Plate of the Union Announces National Advisory Board Members
Chef and Food Policy Action Co-founder Tom Colicchio, Former USDA Member Shirley Sherrod, and Farmer Will Witherspoon Among 14 Members to Serve

Washington, DC – Today, Plate of the Union, a grassroots campaign fighting for presidential action to fix our nation’s broken food system, announced the members of its National Advisory Board. The board will call on the next president to create a food system that rewards farmers and farming practices that protect our environment, provides dignity and fair wages to workers, and ensures that all Americans have access to healthy food. The National Advisory Board members will play an integral part of the campaign’s grassroots efforts both nationally and in battlegrounds states to promote Plate of the Union’s call for action to fix our food system. 

“The bottom line is that food is political,” said Tom Colicchio, chef, food advocate and co-founder of Food Policy Action. “America's food system has created a health crisis where processed junk food is universally cheap, while fresh fruits and vegetables are too often either too expensive or their availability is scarce. Our food policies need to recognize that healthy food is a necessity, not a privilege. Otherwise, increased rates of chronic health problems will continue to drive up healthcare costs, creating a huge economic burden. We need the next president to take action to start to fix this flawed food system.”    

The conversation for change starts at production and goes all the way through what we are serving at our kitchen tables and to students in schools. The Plate of the Union movement includes people from every part of this process including farmers, dietitians, scientists, chefs, and families.

“Currently, food policies prioritize corporate interests at the expense of our health,” said Will Witherspoon, former NFL linebacker, Certified AWA Missourian farmer, and board member. “Processed and unhealthy foods are made cheaper, while healthier, sustainable foods, often produced by local farmers, are harder for folks to afford. As both an athlete who cares deeply about health and a farmer advocating for sustainable production, I find this movement to be incredibly important. I’m excited to help make the food industry better for all American families and farmers.”

Not only does the broken food system negatively impact families’ health, but it also perpetuates a race-to-the-bottom on wages and undermines working families.

Shirley Sherrod, civil rights leader and former Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is also looking forward to serving on the National Advisory Board. “Ironically, some of the most food insecure people in this country are those who grow, prepare, and serve our food. We are calling on leaders to support a food system that ensures all families have access to healthy food and jobs with dignity.”

Plate of the Union will be at both the Democratic and Republican Party Conventions and will hit the campaign trail  with the official Plate of the Union Food Truck to spread the word about the need to fix our food system by meeting with and serving healthy and delicious food to the public and campaign staff. Plate of the Union will be hosting an event at Mabel’s Restaurant in Cleveland on Tuesday of the RNC and participating in Philly Feast on Monday during the DNC featuring the Plate of the Union Food Truck.

Members of the National Advisory Board will take an active role in Plate of the Union activities during the presidential campaign season, and will work to lift up the voices of Americans who want bold action taken to reform our out-of-balance food system.

The full list of Plate of the Union National Advisory Board members includes:

  • José Andrés, Think Food Group, Washington, D.C.

  • John Boyd, National Black Farmers Association, Virginia

  • Tom Colicchio, Chef and Co-Founder of Food Policy Action, New York

  • Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield, New Hampshire

  • Ashley Koff, Creator of The Better Nutrition, Simplified Program, Washington, D.C.

  • Anne Kapuscinski, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

  • Claire Kremen, Berkeley Food Institute, California

  • José Oliva, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Illinois

  • Chellie Pingree, U.S. Representative, Maine

  • Shirley Sherrod, Civil Rights leader, Georgia

  • Bryant Terry, Chef, Author, and Museum of the African Diaspora Chef-In-Residence, California

  • Paul Willis, Niman Ranch, Iowa

  • Will Witherspoon, Shire Gate Farm, Missouri


About Plate of the Union: Plate of the Union is a collaborative campaign driven by Food Policy Action, Food Policy Action Education Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the HEAL Food Alliance to raise the voice of Americans who care about food and farm issues during this election season. More can be found at


Betsy Barrett

Food Policy Action Education Fund
(202) 997-3266

Ja-Rei Wang
Union of Concerned Scientists
(202) 331-6943