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#AWE a top summer reading pick

11 Jun

If you’re looking for some summer reading, #AWE got a couple nice shout-outs recently:

wow: an awesome press photo #that never happens

17 May

Delighted to win the Food Politics and Environment category at James Beard Journalism Awards 2013. Photo by JuanCarlos-H.

Delighted to win the Food Politics and Environment category at James Beard Journalism Awards 2013. Photo by JuanCarlos-H.

If you follow my Twitter feed @TMMcMillan, you’ll already know that on May 3, I was honored to receive the James Beard Journalism Award for Food Politics and the Environment. The irony of swanning around in a party dress with a champagne flute for writing about farm workers sleeping in the field is not lost on me — and neither is the fact that I should enjoy such things when they come my way. Here’s hoping this means that America, in general, is a little more interested in talking about things like farm labor than before!

 

Nice nod from the New Yorker

23 Mar

A lovely nod this weekend from the New Yorker’s Daniel Fromson, via his recommended readings:

Theft is also a major theme in “As Common As Dirt,” from last September’s American Prospect, a narrative that is worth revisiting in light of its nomination for a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award on Monday. Tracie McMillan, author of the well-received “The American Way of Eating”—a “Nickel and Dimed”-esque account of toiling in a Walmart produce department, an Applebee’s, and the fields of California—returns to the last of these places and introduces readers to the seventy-five-year-old Ignacio Villalobos, who is lovingly sketched down to the plastic bags with which he lines his leaky boots. But it’s McMillan’s willingness to dig into a little-discussed corner of agribusiness, and the straight-talking tone with which she lays out the facts, that makes the piece stand out. The article is about farm-labor contractors, who “give American produce growers what companies like China’s Foxconn offer to Apple: a way to outsource a costly and complicated part of the business”—often at the expense of workers like Mr. Villalobos, who are routinely paid less than what they’ve been promised.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/03/weekend-reading-tycoons-apartments-california-farm-laborors-malis-struggles.html#ixzz2ONoHpA00

Here’s why I’m thrilled #AWE became a Book for a Better Life via @MSSociety. Many thx to @RebeccaLitAgent @ScribnerBooks & more

12 Mar

A very quick note of thanks and appreciation goes out this morning to the National MS Society, Publisher’s Weekly and all the other folks who make the Books for a Better Life Awards Happen. I would have been happy to walk out of last night’s event with my free wine, snacks and talking to good people — and it’s a surprise and honor to have actually won the “Green” category.

When I first heard about the Books for a Better Life Award, I confess that — as an investigative journalist — I was a little leery; they sounded a bit fluffy. But when I really thought about it, I realized that I’m pretty fully on-board.

Most of my work is about looking at how power and class and politics determine people’s lives. In the best scenario, my work helps to improve their lives—make them better. And that’s what Books for a Better Life recognizes: a book’s potential to improve people’s lives. That they picked an investigative book aimed at policy as much as at individual self-improvement is a vote of confidence that I never would have expected, but am certainly happy to have.

There’s also a very personal reason that I was honored to receive the award. In The American Way of Eating, I describe quickly and with little detail that my mother was ill for most of my childhood. I don’t mention it, but her primary affliction was Multiple Sclerosis. I know very well how debilitating that disease can be, and how vital treatment and a cure are for the millions of patients and their families can be. And I also know how important hope and empathy are until that cure arrives.

At the same time, that was such a formative experience for me that I can’t fathom being who I am today without it. And much of what people have appreciated about The American Way of Eating—particularly whatever empathy I show to the people about whom I write, any capacity I have to connect with people, even my semi-self-defeating compulsion to try and fix the world however I can—can all be traced back to having grown up with, and sometimes caring for, a sick parent. As Meredith Vieira said last night at the awards, this isn’t a club I would have volunteered to join.  But it is one that has given me a strangely useful skill set in my chosen trade.

So to have an institution that was founded to cure the disease my mother fought for so long publicly recognize that my book might, in some way, make lives better— well, that’s an interesting bit of life coming full-circle.

 

Also, I do have to thank Susan Molodow and Nan Graham at Scribner, as well as my graceful editor Alexis Gargagliano and tireless publicist Lauren Lavelle, for their support and faith in my work; Rebecca Friedman, my agent, at Hill-Nadel Agency; and a few key supporters, particularly Annia Ciezadlo and Mohamad Bazzi; Oscar Owens and Elissa Berger; Mike Rabinowitz and Elana Karopkin; Camille and Larry Owens; Jessie Doan, and the USDA Food Stamp/SNAP program, all of whom made my work possible in very concrete ways.

 

Thanks for the shout-out! @BostonGlobe On the family menu: What’s familiar http://b.globe.com/14t9OEM

30 Jan

This is a delightful surprise: #AWE is nominated for @Goodreads Readers’ Choice Awards! (VOTE by Nov 10!) http://ow.ly/eXg7g

2 Nov

Forgive the delay in my informing you of this, but:

The American Way of Eating, along with some impressive works like Will Allen and Charles Wilson’s Good Food Revolution, has been nominated for a Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award. So: GO VOTE!

This is a real honor: Nominees are selected based on reader metrics, so that means a lot of people actually liked and/or read the book.

As a lesser-known, first-time author, winning this award would do a lot for me professionally — a good nudge to publishers, for instance, that I”m worth contracting with for a second book — so please: CAST YOUR VOTE ASAP (you get three!).  Voting ends next week, so do it now before you forget!

Foxconn is to Apple as ____ is to U.S. farms: Recent work and news from Tracie McMillan

14 Sep

The Latest: Feature in The American Prospect
PLEASE RETWEET
Foxconn is to Apple as _____ is to American farms. Fill in the blanks w/ @TMMcMillan latest for @FERNnews & @theprospect http://ow.ly/dCZK8

As Common As Dirt
In the fields of California, wage theft
is how business gets done

October 2012

RECENT WORK

Column for Slate:
Cooking Isn’t Fun, But you should do it anyway. (978 comments)
August 27, 2012
Column on CNN.com’s Eatocracy:

IMPACT: Political

Congressional Quarterly Researcher
Farm Bill Report

Uses my work to frame discussion of food
and agriculture in America
August 10, 2012

IMPACT: Educational

UC-San Diego
Sociology of Food
Fall 2012
200 students

University of Mississippi – Oxford
Center for Writing and Rhetoric
Winter 2012
400-500 students

Appearances

Wisconsin Public Radio
August 30, 2012
6 am
Joy Cardin Show: Cooking can be annoying, but do it anyway.

NPR’s The Splendid Table
August 25, 2012
The American Way of Eating

Monadnock Lyceum address
July 28, 2012
Rethinking Food Politics in America: From Farmer’s Markets to Walmart