Cal-cuisine queen Alice Waters is adding another achievement to her already long list of them: National Humanities Medal recipient. The award is being bestowed upon Waters by President Barack Obama himself, who selected the 10 recipients from a list recommended by The National Council on the Humanities. The medal, which has only been awarded to 175 recipients since 1996, honors people or organizations "whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens' engagement with history and literature or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to cultural resources." Waters, an author and food activist, definitely falls into that last category, as she's widely credited with bringing the farm-to-table ethos to the American public.
Waters Tweeted that she was "so honored" to accept the award and wrote on Facebook that "this recognition from the NEH is about so much more than my own life's work, it is an acknowledgement that food is now considered part of the cultural conversation in this country." Waters will travel to the White House to accept at a ceremony next Thursday, September 10. President Obama will confer the medal in the East Room, where a representative for Waters told us she plans to tell him, "It's time for every child in America to have an Edible Education!" First Lady Michelle Obama will also be in attendance. Waters has already met Michelle Obama, most notably during the 2009 installation of a White House vegetable garden that Waters lobbied for.
Other awardees this year include authors Annie Dillard, Larry McCurtry, Jhumpa Lahiri and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, historians Evelyn Brooks Higginboatham and Vicki Lynn Ruiz, architect Everett L. Fly, scholar Fedwa Malti-Douglas and The Clemente Course in the Humanities.