Alice Waters

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Alice Waters "was born on April 28,1944, in Chatham, New Jersey. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967 with a degree in French Cultural Studies, and trained at the Montessori School in London before spending a seminal year traveling in France. ... Alice opened Chez Panisse in 1971, serving a single fixed-price menu that changes daily. The set menu format remains at the heart of Alice's philosophy of serving only the highest quality products, only when they are in season. Over the course of three decades, Chez Panisse has developed a network of mostly local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures Chez Panisse a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients. ... Alice is a strong advocate for farmer's markets and for sound and sustainable agriculture. In 1996, in celebration of the restaurant's twenty-fifth anniversary, she created the Chez Panisse Foundation to help underwrite cultural and educational programs such as the one at the Edible Schoolyard that demonstrate the transformative power of growing, cooking, and sharing food.[1] On March 30, 2010, Waters declined to publicly oppose growing food in toxic sewage sludge, a practice that violates the National Organic Standards Act governing organic food. [2]

Sewage Industry Gives an 'Award' to Alice Waters and Chez Panisse Foundation

The major sewage sludge industry front group, US Composting Council, gave Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse Foundation an 'award' in January, 2011. "The H. Clark Gregory Award to Promote Grassroots Efforts in Composting" was awarded to Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Foundation and their Edible Schoolyard program which promotes children growing food from their own gardens. The award is given each year to an individual who has displayed outstanding service." [3] The USCC also sponsors International Compost Awareness Week to promote sewage sludge "compost," and works closely with its members BioCycle magazine, Synagro, Water Environment Federation and other lobbyists for growing food in sewage sludge.

Chez Sludge

The Food Rights Network released a major investigative report on July 9, 2010 titled: Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters. [4] It examines collusion between the Chez Panisse Foundation and the SFPUC based on an extensive open records investigation of the SFPUC internal files. (To view the internal documents see: SFPUC Sludge Controversy Timeline.)

Chez Panisse Foundation Mired in "Sewage Sludge Compost" Controversy

In 2009 and 2010 a major controversy erupted in San Francisco involving Chez Panisse Foundation Executive Director Francesca Vietor when the Center for Food Safety (upon whose Advisory Board sits Alice Waters) and the Organic Consumers Association called on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, of which she is Vice President, to end its give-away of toxic sewage sludge as 'organic biosolids compost' for gardeners.[5][6] In advance of a March 4 sludge protest at City Hall by the Organic Consumers Association, the SFPUC temporarily halted the give-away. [7]

The Organic Consumers Association conducted a noon hour picket of Chez Panisse April 1, 2010, after Alice Waters refused a request to oppose growing food in sewage sludge. [8] The industry front group ACSH is now making Alice Waters a poster child for toxic sludge. [9] Francesca Vietor has formally threatened the UK Guardian for an article it published [10] that Vietor and Alice Waters do not like. Author and blogger Jill Richardson has analyzed the Guardian article and defended its accuracy.[11]

Alice Waters; Awards and Connections

According to Alice Waters' biographer Thomas McNamee, Chez Panisse "is a standard-bearer for a system of moral values. It is the leader of a style of cooking, of a social movement, and of a comprehensive philosophy of doing good and living well." [12] Among Alice's many board affiliations, she is the Founder and Director of the Chez Panisse Foundation, an International Governor of Slow Food, a Visiting Dean at the French Culinary Institute, an Honorary Trustee of the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts in Napa, and Board Member of the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Alice is author and co-author of more than eight books, including Chez Panisse Vegetables, Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, Fanny at Chez Panisse, a storybook and cookbook for children, and most recently, the encyclopedic Chez Panisse Fruit. Chez Panisse restaurant was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine in 2001. Alice has received numerous awards, including the Bon Appetit magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and the James Beard Humanitarian Award in 1997. She was named Best Chef in America by the James Beard Foundation in 1992 and Cuisine et Vins de France listed her as one of the ten best chefs in the world in 1986." [13]

Resources and articles




Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Chez Panisse, accessed August 26, 2008.
  2. OCA, Alice Waters, Exchange on Toxic Sewage Sludge, March, 2010
  3. USCC Website Accessed 4/17/11
  4. John Stauber, Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters,, July 9, 2010
  5. Heather Knight, Nonprofit calls PUC's compost toxic sludge, San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2009.
  6. Jill Richardson, Food Sunday: Toxic Sludge as 'Organic Fertilizer', FireDogLake, March 7, 2010.
  7. Chris Roberts, Farmers Call PUC's Shit, Will Dump it on City Hall Today, San Francisco Appeal, March 4, 2010.
  8. Leora Broydo Vestel, Food Groups Clash Over Compost Sludge, New York Times Green Inc. blog, April 9 2010.
  9. John Stauber, ACSH Makes Alice Waters a Poster Child for Toxic Sludge,, April 12, 2010.
  10. Suzanne Goldenberg, US chef Alice Waters criticised over sewage fertiliser: Top US healthy-eating chef Alice Waters attacked for supporting fertiliser made of sewage that activists say contains toxins, UK Guardian, April 1, 2010.
  11. Jill Richardson, Francesca Takes Legal Action over Sludge Article, La Vida Locavore blog, April 6, 2010.
  12. Laurie Bennett, Alice Waters, food fighter, Muckety website, January 21, 2008.
  13. About, Chez Panisse, accessed August 26, 2008.
  14. Advisory Board, Center for Food Safety, accessed August 25, 2009.
  15. Liasons, Rachel's Network, accessed September 17, 2008.
  16. Advisory Committee, Wind Farm Alliance, accessed December 2, 2008.