Stephen C. Clapp


Steve died peacefully of leukemia at the Culpepper (Virginia) Health & Rehabilitation Center on December 1, 2016, with his loving wife and family at his side. He was born December 25, 1938 in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Steve was a member of the Harvard Class of 1960, resided in Dunster House, and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. In 1965-1966, he earned a Master’s degree at the Columbia Journalism School.

Steve covered food policy in Washington, D. C., for more than 40 years. His new book, Fixing the Food System: Changing How We Produce and Consume Food, was published in November of 2016 and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through the publisher, ABC-CLIO.

Steve came to Washington shortly after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Nigeria. His memoir of his Peace Corps experience, Africa Remembered: Adventures in Post-Colonial Nigeria and Beyond, went on sale in the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and other outlets.

Moving to Washington in 1966, Steve joined the Office of Inspection in the short-lived U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity. For three exciting years, he and his colleagues investigated and evaluated antipoverty programs in the Midwest and South.

Professionally speaking, Steve moved from poverty into hunger and malnutrition; the common theme has been food. From 1971 to 1983, he edited Nutrition Week, the newsletter of the Community Nutrition Institute. He then served as communications coordinator at Interfaith Action for Economic Justice, an antipoverty lobby funded by religious denominations and agencies.

During this period, he got caught up in the long-distance running movement. Steve ran his first marathon in 1974 and began writing about the sport for the Washington Post and various magazines. In 1978 he was asked to edit Footnotes, a quarterly tabloid published by the Road Runners Club of America that reached more than 100,000 running club members across the nation. He held that semi-volunteer post for a dozen years.

After leaving Interfaith Action, Steve became a freelance journalist specializing in food and nutrition policy. In 1993 he moved to Brussels to serve as European editor of World Food Chemical News, a newsletter covering international food regulation. Soon after his return to Washington, he was hired to edit that publication, which was subsequently merged with the flagship news magazine Food Chemical News.

Before retiring in 2013, Steve served as senior editor of Food Chemical News and managing editor of the monthly Food Traceability Report. After retirement, he was a part-time contributing editor. He also wrote articles on a variety of topics for the Washington Post and the Washingtonian magazine.

He was vice president of Friends of Nigeria, an alumni organization for Peace Corps volunteers who served in that country. He was also secretary of the Peace Corps Nigeria Alumni Foundation (, which provides scholarships for secondary schoolgirls in northern Nigeria and for students at the new American University of Nigeria.

Steve lived in Jeffersonton, Va., with his wife Bette Hileman, also a retired journalist. Between them they have five children and nine grandchildren.

Donations in Steve’s memory may be made to Friends of Nigeria ( or Bread for the World (