Great news from The International Spa Association! Alice Waters, renowned chef, author, food activist, and owner of Chez Panisse receives the 2015 ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award at the 25th annual ISPA Conference & Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this October. Waters has been a champion of local, sustainable agriculture for more than four decades.
“ISPA is thrilled to recognize Alice for her many years of hard work in advocating for locally grown fare,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “Alice’s passion for feeding the world is so inspiring, and her work impacts so many of us.”
Waters was chosen based on her extensive work as founder of The Edible Schoolyard Project, an innovative model for public education that integrates the growing and cooking of food into the core academic curriculum. The centerpiece of the mission is to promote a free, nutritious and sustainable school lunch for all students, K – 12, and to bring children into a new relationship to food.
Waters’ vision for edible education began 20 years ago with The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, which today draws visitors from around the world. The online Edible Schoolyard Network gathers and shares lessons and best practices from school gardens, kitchens, and edible education programs worldwide. To date, there are more than 4,000 Edible Schoolyard Network member programs in 54 countries.
Waters has been a champion of local, sustainable agriculture for more than four decades.
“I am so honored to be receiving this award for the 25th anniversary of ISPA,” said Waters. “I am looking forward to speaking at this important gathering.”
The award is named in honor of the late spa pioneer, Alex Szekely. It is designed to recognize an individual who acts as a respected contributor to overall well-being, encouraging the renewal of mind, body and spirit—all of which are characteristics embodied by ISPA members worldwide.
“Alice Waters has climbed to the summit of worldwide culinary fame since starting Chez Panisse in a little house on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley,” said Deborah Szekely, mother of Alex and the godmother of the modern American spa movement, who will present the award. “Along the way she’s done more than any single person to change the world of healthy, sustainable, immensely enjoyable dining, as well as cooking at home. She also inspires many thousands of children each year through her Edible Schoolyard project to honor fresh and seasonal, locally sourced, honest simple food and all that it means to lifelong health.”
Past Humanitarian Award recipients include Jewel, Blake Mycoskie, Lisa Ling and Dr. Maya Angelou.