Alice Waters, Healthy Food Advocate, Receives Humanities Medal

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President Obama presents the 2014 National Humanities Medal to Alice Waters during an East Room ceremony at the White House on Thursday. Alice Waters was honored for celebrating the bond between the ethical and the edible as a chef, author and advocate. (Alex Wong/Getty Images )

Listen to the Story on Morning Edition:

We had a visitor here at NPR on Thursday: Alice Waters, the famous chef and educator. She's best known for her restaurant Chez Panisse, which helped to popularize local, seasonal ingredients.

When she came by, she looked a little different. Hanging from her neck was a bronze medal on a red ribbon — a National Humanities Medal. President Obama had just given it to Waters.

We asked this advocate of sustainable eating what it meant to be recognized in that way. Here's what she told us:

"We talk about the humanities — all the beautiful things that are cultural experiences for us and lift our spirits. And yet, we've never really talked about food that way. Food has always been like fuel, and now it's considered to be something that really lifts our spirits. And when food and agriculture are put together and are in the rhythm of nature, it brings us back to the table where a cultural conversation can happen."

Copyright 2015 NPR.