The Women in Food Issue
"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."
– Julia Child
One of the more creative parts of my job is to determine the theme we will discuss in each issue and then decide which corresponding stories showcase examples of that theme at work in our local food community. In this issue we focused on Women and Food, a brief glimpse into some of the strong female role-models in our region who are growing, cooking and building businesses around the things we put on our plates.
I must admit, I had mixed feeling about designating this theme, which coincides with National Women’s History Month. I am all for celebrating the role women play in creating a resilient food system throughout Northeast Florida. But – aren’t we at a point where we can get beyond labelling and just identify talented chefs, artisans, bartenders, entrepreneurs, without stating whether a male or female?
Well, yes and no. While women are indeed in the kitchen and running food businesses, the media doesn’t cover their presence nearly as much as their male counterparts. In November 2013, Time Magazine’s “Gods of Food” honored 13 men and no women, inciting outrage in the culinary world. When Food & Wine dedicated the January 2015 issue to “women who rule the food world,” that itself was noteworthy. When we think of the word “farmer,” most people still picture a man.
To help change the perception of what’s happening in our food system, this issue recognizes a few of the women in our region who are working to make a difference in the way we think about food. Moving up the culinary ladder is tough for anyone, so we give a tip of the toque to some of the women chefs running area kitchens. We explore the perseverance required of female farmers as a new (or maybe just newly recognized) face of agriculture. We learn how one mom is helping to show elementary students that eating real food is tasty and fun. And finally, we showcase some of the realities of starting your own food business. (Before you do, we encourage you to read about the experiences of several local food-trepreneurs.)
This issue only touches on a handful of women whose efforts are helping shape a sustainable food community on Florida’s First Coast and this is by no means a comprehensive listing. Check our website for others and email us to tell us about the Northeast Florida women you know in food. We would love to give them all credit for their hard work. Bon appétit.