Tracie McMillan: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Tracie McMillan

Award-Winning Journalist & Author

Tracie McMillan, an award-winning journalist whose work centers on food and class, is a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. She is the author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.

In 2009, McMillan went undercover to work alongside America’s working poor in order to examine how we eat. For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor; she went undercover as a harvest worker at industrial farms in California, as a produce clerk at a Walmart supercenter outside Detroit, and as a kitchen worker at an Applebee’s in New York City. She lived, worked and shared kitchens and food with her co-workers, existing within the means her low pay allowed. With startling intimacy, McMillan brings audiences along to grueling work places and portrays the lives and food of Mexican garlic crews, Midwestern produce managers, and Caribbean line cooks—and then takes them home to her kitchen, to see what kind of food she can afford to buy and prepare. McMillan also looks at how we got here, digging deep into labor, economics, politics, and social science to reveal new and surprising truths about how America’s food is grown, sold and prepared—and what it would take to change the system.

With an absorbing blend of narrative and formidable investigative reporting, McMillan takes us from dusty fields to clanging restaurant kitchens, linking her work to the quality of our meals—and always placing her observations in the context of America’s entire food industry and our way of eating. A fearless journalist and a gifted writer, Tracie McMillan has gone beyond the statistics, the food trends, and the perceptions of poverty to deliver a riveting and marvelously crafted book that pulses with humanity and powerfully argues why eating well in our country is limited to the few and what we can do about it.

A freelance journalist whose work centers on the question of access to good food, particularly within middle- and lower-income communities, McMillan also writes about the working and nonworking poor and questions of social mobility and economic inequality. She has won several national awards, including the Harry Chapin Media Award and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, for her work on these topics. McMillan's work has appeared in a wide range of publications including the New York Times, Harper's, Slate, Saveur, O Magazine, Salon and Gastronomica.

In October 2012, McMillan was named a Senior Fellow at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

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  • Food in America's Working Class
  • What Walmart Means for America's Food
  • Undercover at Walmart , Applebee's and Farm Fields
  • Food Sovereignty / Food as a Social Good and Human Right

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