"Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables from small farmers, and you'll do OK." That's the simple approach to healthy eating put forth by chef-activist Michel Nischan, owner of the Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut. His book, Sustainably Delicious, explores the philosophy with dishes like a chopped salad with eight different vegetables.
Nischan's efforts to get Americans to eat better go beyond cookbooks: Since 2008, he's been helping underserved communities gain access to local food through his foundation, Wholesome Wave. "There's a stereotype that the poor just want to eat McDonald's, and it's so not true," he says. "The people we work with can't even afford Happy Meals. They are desperate for fresh food."
To bring the cost within reach, Nischan has helped create a new program to double the value of food stamps at certain farmers' markets, like a new one in Miami's historic but low-income Overtown neighborhood. "When a woman who'd lived there her whole life saw the market, she started weeping. She couldn't believe she finally had access to good food." She filled a whole bag with vegetables before heading home.