Nancy Becker

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Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker is chair of the Oregon Nutrition Policy Alliance and is the recipient of the American Dietetic Association’s 2009 Award for Grassroots Excellence.

She is on the staff of the Oregon Public Health Institute

Becker has worked on food policy, cooking low on the food chain, health education and clinical research for more than 30 years. Her many years of providing individual nutrition counseling have led her to conclude that real policy change in the food system is the best way to meaningfully address the nutrition problems in the US.

Nancy Becker currently chairs the Oregon Nutrition Policy Alliance, a broad coalition engaged in state, local, and federal nutrition policy issues.

Through ONPA Becker was a leader in legislative victories on school junk food legislation, and statewide menu labeling. Most recently she helped coordinate the effort to put nutrition standards in place in Portland Parks and Recreation Centers and is active on a Sugar Sweetened Beverage workgroup.

Nancy Becker is active in civic and political groups locally and nationally and is an enthusiastic advocate for social justice and food that is good, clean and fair. She has served on many boards and committees locally and nationally, and is now on the boards of the Political Action Committee of the American Dietetic Association and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.[1]

Portland New American Movement

The Portland chapter of the New American Movement formed in 1977, four years after NAM held its inaugural meeting. It was a lively and nationally-renowned NAM chapter, and when the merger between NAM and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee took place, a majority of its members remained active in the new organization, (Democratic Socialists of America) and, through it, successfully engaged in regional and national politics.

Well, I went to college in Madison, Wisconsin, and was involved in the antiwar movement, and then moved out to Portland looking for community. I remember meeting Beverly at a party. She took me for a walk and we talked about lovers and politics, and analyzed our relationships. Nobody had ever done that before.
So we became friends. And I remember being invited, after that, to a women’s-only lunch. I had been out foraging for wild mushrooms and I brought them along, and they made cream of tomato soup. It was amazing, all this beautiful food and these radical women. I heard about NAM through them.

Five people — Rhys Scholes, Marcia Barrentine, Nancy Becker, Scott Bailey, and Beverly Stein — were central to the chapter’s life throughout its existence. They also worked together beyond the life of the organization.[2]

Portland DSA

1982 Portland Democratic Socialists of America Steering Committee members , Beverly Stein, Bill Thomas, Nancy Becker, Judi Watts, Pat Hayes, Rhys Scholes, Natasha Beck, Fred Heutte, Gretchen Kafoury[3]

Left unity attempts

Rhys Scholes, Marcia Barrentine, Nancy Becker, Scott Bailey, and Beverly Stein were all involved in the Alliance for Social Change, which was a failed effort at left unity, and that was followed by the Oregon Alliance for Progressive Policy, which was a second failed attempt at left unity.[4]

Los Angeles DSA

In the early 1980's Nancy Becker was a leading member of Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America[5].


  1. OPHI staff bio, accessed June 2,2012
  2. Victor Cohen, Interview with Portland NAM Members, 2008
  3. [Portland DSA report to National DSA July, 1982]
  4. Victor Cohen, Interview with Portland NAM Members, 2008
  5. LA DSA membership list, undated Steve Tarzynski papers