Seedstock Profiles: Women Leaders and Changemakers in Food
A Seedstock series profiling women who are leading change in sustainable agriculture and local food.
Women in Food: From Theatre to Tech, Erika Block Helps Build a New Food Economy
You might call Erika Block something of a web weaver for the local foods economy. As CEO of Local Orbit, a company dedicated to providing sales and business management software and services to entrepreneurs, farmers, food hubs and others involved with local foods, she’s intricately familiar with the logistics that make the movement possible. With clients in 16 states and Canada, her 8-person team provides local food producers and aggregators with cloud-based tech tools and coaching so they can sell their products more efficiently to restaurants, grocers, and institutional buyers.
Women in Food: Suzanne Nelson Moves from Journalist to Sustainable Livestock Farmer
Ten years ago, Suzanne Nelson was a journalist, working for Roll Call in Washington, D.C. In a self-described dream job, she wrote about money, politics, and separation of powers. But while on the career path toward becoming a reporter for a major daily newspaper, Nelson became disillusioned with the process of making news. As she pushed harder for the truth, the self-proclaimed city girl was led to become a farmer.
With a renewed interest in the relationship between health, medicine and food, Nelson began to ask larger questions. What is medicine? What is health? Her conclusion: “The first medicine is always food,” she says, stressing the importance of disease prevention. “Our food is supposed to be whole.”
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Nelson moved to New Orleans. Later, she settled on North Carolina as a place to live.
“I fell in love with a place called Saxapahaw (a small town near Burlington, North Carolina),” she says. Her farm, Cozi Farms calls Saxapahaw home.
Women in Food: Natasha Lantz Helps Build Food Co-op in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
In 2003, Natasha Lantz became a member and started volunteering at the Marquette Food Co-op, a store that sells locally-produced food in Marquette, Michigan, in the state’s Upper Peninsula. Now, she serves as the organization’s outreach director.
As a volunteer, Lantz found herself unloading trucks, pricing merchandise and stocking shelves. She enjoyed her work, but noticed that not much outreach to the community was taking place. She asked management if she could start a bulletin board—this was approved. She later successfully ran for a position on the Co-op’s board of directors, and kept volunteering.
Women in Food: Journalist Jane Black Looks for ‘Solutions’
As writer of the Smarter Food column for the Washington Post, among many other outlets, Jane Black has been a prolific journalist on topics of food, food politics, and sustainable agriculture. She has made it her career to broaden the discussion around the creation of a more sustainable food system, by taking culture and scale into consideration. Seedstock recently had the opportunity to speak with Jane to discuss her career so far, the path she took to get there, and what’s next in the pipeline for her career.
“The idea for the Smarter Food column really came from my reporting,” Jane explains, “I wanted to look at what was not getting a lot of coverage; the nitty gritty stuff that needs to happen to make real change.”
Women in Food: Journalist Tracie McMillan Explores Crossroads Of Food And Poverty
Over the past few years, journalist Tracie McMillan has carved out a space to talk about food in a way that isn’t discussed all that much in the mainstream media, namely, how it relates to the lives of working-class and poor people.
Best known as the author of “The American Way of Eating,” a New York Times bestseller where she goes undercover to investigate the gritty reality of the country’s food system as a farm worker, Walmart associate and Applebee’s employee, her reporting has also appeared in the pages of Harper’s and the New York Times.