Agriculture churns out a considerable portion of annual greenhouse gas emissions, and a whole lot of waste — and it’s not like we can just, you know, stop eating. Instead, creative minds are rethinking the way the food system works — reinventing how farmers buy their seeds and treat their soil, restoring connections between restaurants and farming, and reconsidering what traditional food looks like in a time of change. These overhauls have the potential to be not just beneficial, but delicious.

Every year, the Grist 50 highlights emerging leaders who are working toward a more sustainable and equitable future. These five food innovators are creating a whole new menu of options:

  1. In Detroit, shane bernardo reconnects food, culture, traditions, and justice through a variety of nonprofit groups — and a diaspora dinner party.
  2. Through the storytelling of rural life, University of California, Santa Barbara prof (and country musician!) Liz Carlisle builds common ground between environmentalists, ag leaders, and farmers.
  3. With her Seattle catering company, Birch Basket, Hillel Echo-Hawk puts an original twist on indigenous staples — and teaches people about the history and culture of traditional foods.
  4. Soon-to-be Rhodes Scholar Wawa Gatheru explores justice, racial inequity, and food access both in rural Connecticut and as a student at the University of Connecticut.
  5. San Francisco star chef and restaurant founder Anthony Myint’s new projects include ways to help restaurants reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable agriculture.

There are 45 other folks doing great work on our list! Read about all of them on the 2020 Grist 50.

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