Meet JBF Leadership Award Winner Debra Eschmeyer

As the countdown continues (our inaugural James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards are just eight days away!), we’d like to introduce you to another one of our award recipients. Today, we want to tell you about:

Debra Eschmeyer
Co-Founder and Program Director, FoodCorps

When Debra Eschmeyer began her Food and Community fellowship with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in February 2009, she arrived “exploding with ideas,” recounts fellowship director Mark Muller. “I didn’t think it was possible for an Ohio farm girl to talk so much faster than the New Yorkers in the room.”

It was exactly that farm upbringing that nurtured Eschmeyer’s intense drive. “I’m a dairy farmer’s daughter,” she says. “Everyone works on the weekends and never takes a vacation.” After leaving the farm for college, Eschmeyer became involved in food policy work and was introduced to the Farm to School program, which brings food from local farms into school cafeterias.

Inspired, she created One Tray, a campaign that successfully lobbied Congress and the USDA to expand Farm to School programs. “I thought, This could be a win-win-win solution—why isn’t this happening everywhere?” recounts Eschmeyer.

Read more here.