Some great news: #AWE is up for a James Beard

21 Mar

I’m traveling for my fellowship (Istanbul! Pics to come) but wanted to make sure I let everyone know that The American Way of Eating is up for a James Beard Award–as is a feature I wrote on farm labor, “As Common As Dirt,” in The American Prospect In the event that you do not follow the food world, this is a big honor in those parts.

I’ve got enough of a punk in me to still feel conflicted about this; there’s a lot of money and pomp poured into a celebration of the monied and well-connected, and that’s not really my thing.

But here’s what IS cool:
It’s a recognition by somewhat powerful people that there is real value in writing, and thinking, about food as it works in the lives of our poor and working classes. It suggests that maybe, just maybe, there is the inkling of a change in the way we grape with food afoot, And I am all about that.

Many thanks to the endless list of people who’ve supported me in my work. I very literally popular not have done it without you.


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.


Great piece from @tomphilpott at @MotherJones on heartland states replacing grassland with cash crops.

22 Feb

Detroit & Food Deserts: Check me @TheTakeaway this a.m. w/ @WDET ‘s Laura Weber Davis re: #DetroitFoodEconomy

22 Feb

Thanks for the shout-out! @BostonGlobe On the family menu: What’s familiar

30 Jan

OK, weird: It did not compute that keynoting @ExpoWest would mean being the cover of their program. whoa!

19 Jan

OK, weird: It did not compute that keynoting @ExpoWest would mean being the cover of their program. whoa! EW13_MISC_Conference-Preview_260x300v2

Build web skills and professional contacts with leading food journalist

18 Jan

Position: Web intern
Commitment: 5-10 hours a week, 3-4 months

Tracie McMillan, an award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, seeks a web intern for work on This is a great opportunity to build a relationship with a professional author; refine your web skills; and begin building a network among the country’s leading food journalists.

The intern will work closely with Tracie and her web team in handling web-related tasks for her website, including formatting and posting articles, categorizing posts, and ensuring website QA. A good understanding of basic HTML, standard web practices, and WordPress is preferred. The ideal candidate will be an ambitious undergraduate student with an interest in food journalism and a background in web. Additional tasks and responsibility available as ability is proven.

The intern will work a minimum of 5 hours a week with a commitment of 3 to 4 months. The internship is unpaid. Work will be done remotely with occasional in-person meetings and weekly phone meetings. The ideal intern will live in New York, where the web editor is based; candidates in Michigan will also be given preference.

In person interviews with Tracie can be scheduled Friday January 25th or Monday January 28th; otherwise, Skype will suffice. Interested candidates should send a résumé and brief cover letter describing your interest, any prior web or journalism experience, and interview availability to traciemcmillanlist [at] gmail [dot] com ASAP. We hope to make a hire by the end of January so preference will be given to candidates submitting material before January 23.

About Tracie

A working-class transplant from rural Michigan, Brooklyn-based writer Tracie McMillan is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. Mixing immersive reporting, undercover investigative techniques and “moving first-person narrative” (Wall Street Journal), McMillan’s book argues for thinking of fresh, healthy food as a public and social good—a stance that inspired The New York Times to call her “a voice the food world needs” and Rush Limbaugh to single her out as an “overeducated” “authorette” and “threat to liberty.” In 2012, Whole Living magazine named her a “Food Visionary,” building on her numerous appearances on radio and television programs, which range from the liberal The Rachel Maddow Show to the “tea-party favorite” Peter Schiff Show. She has written about food and class for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, Saveur, and Slate.

For more information, visit