Women are the backbone of today’s food media. Take a look at our site and you’ll not only see that most of our contributors are women, but many of our featured stories are focused on female food movement leaders and projects spearheaded by women. And yet, the women reporting on this issue area don’t always get the attention they deserve.
Even before Jill Abramson was asked to leave the New York Times this week for inquiring about the salaries of her male co-workers, Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times’ public editor, wrote about a recent Women’s Media Center study that found a continued gender imbalance in journalism. Sullivan wrote:
[D]oes it really matter who writes the stories, and who makes the decisions about deploying resources and presenting news? Yes, I think it does. Here’s one small example of why: Women who write are more likely, according to the study, to quote at least some women in their articles. That diversity of outlook and that range of voices are worth pursuing because it better reflects the world.
We couldn’t agree more. In that spirit, we’re sharing a list, by no means exhaustive, of female food and agriculture beat reporters who are bringing these important stories to light (i.e., for the most part, women who are reporting on a regular, if not daily, basis). As I write this, they’re covering everything from food safety to agriculture forecast reports to food trends and more.
Not included are the incredible female editors who have these reporters’ backs. Also, some of the pioneers in this field, like Kim Severson and Carol Ness—both of whom reported on the intersection between food and farming for the San Francisco Chronicle, Severson, later for the Times—have moved on, but their early and critical influence demands a raised glass for their trailblazing work.
- Eliza Barclay, NPR’s The Salt. Barclay is a reporter and editor, covering food, health and science on the web and occasionally on the air. She previously covered the environment, immigration, economic development, and international politics. @elizabarclay
- Jane Black, Washington Post, et al. Black is a food writer who covers food politics, trends, and sustainability issues. Formerly a staff writer at the Post, she now writes regularly for the paper and her work can be found in many other publications. @jane_black
- Helena Bottemiller Evich, Politico Pro. Evich is a food and agriculture reporter who previously spent four years reporting on food politics and policy at Food Safety News, where she covered Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She was previously also a frequent contributor to Civil Eats. @hbottemiller
- Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle. Duggan is a James Beard award–winning journalist and cookbook author. She writes about emerging food trends and innovators. @taraduggan
- Monica Eng, WBEZ. For years a watchdog reporter at the Chicago Tribune who focused on food and consumer issues, Eng now produces food, health, ag, and ethnic reports for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She also hosts Chewing the Fat, WBEZ’s food podcast. @monicaeng
- Stacy Finz, San Francisco Chronicle. Finz covers food and wine industries and agriculture. Her stories include the beleaguered California olive industry and farming and ranching issues. @sfinz
- April Fulton, NPR’s The Salt. The founding host of The Salt blog, Fulton writes for on food, farming, and the intersection between the two. @fultonhere
- PJ Grieskspoor, Kansas Farmer. Grieskpoor spent 18 years with the Wichita Eagle as a reporter covering agriculture and agribusiness, oil and gas, biofuels, and the bioeconomy. She was recently named president of the North American Agricultural Journalists. @pjgriekspoor
- Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press. If there’s a national story on food or agriculture, Jalonick is usually the first to report on it. She covers everything from food stamps to food hubs, crops to cows, and much more. @mcjalonick
- Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post. Kindy is an investigative reporter, covering ag issues from the Farm Bill to food safety, including recent reports on USDA’s poultry inspection system and the political push for raw milk. @kimberlykindy
- Evan Kleiman, KCRW’s Good Food. Chef, author, radio host, and restaurateur, Kleiman focuses on chefs, farmers, and how food intersects with human life. Her radio show is a veritable who’s who of food and farming. @evankleiman
- Clare Leschin-Hoar, The Guardian, Take Part, et al. Leschin-Hoar has covered a wide array of topics, including the complicated issues surrounding sustainable seafood and fishing. Her work focuses on the intersection of food and the environment. She’s also a contributor to Civil Eats. @c_leschin
- Eddie Gehman Kohan, Obamafoodorama. Kohan is a one-woman powerhouse who founded this site, known as “the official record for White House food initiatives, from nutrition policy to presidential pie”—it’s now by subscription only, though usually made available to the public on Fridays. Any and all activities related to POTUS, FLOTUS, and food are reported here. @obamafoodorama
- Carey Gillam, Reuters. Gilliam reports on agricultural markets, issues, and companies, including Monsanto and DuPont. If there’s a story about genetically engineered anything, Gilliam is on it. @careygillam
- Georgina Gustin, CQ Roll Call. After covering food and ag in the heartland for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for years, Gustin is now in the thick of it covering policy and regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA, and FDA. @georgina_gustin
- Sarah Henry, Edibles, et al. Henry covers people in food, culture, politics, news, and trends, and recently penned a story for Edible East Bay about female chefs, “Any Females in the House?” She is also a contributor to Civil Eats.@lettuceeatkale
- PJ Huffstutter, Reuters. Previously a business reporter, covering ag and food industries for the Los Angeles Times, Huffstutter is now focused on investigative stories dealing with U.S. commodity crops and the livestock industry. @pjhuffstutter1
- Maryn McKenna, Wired, et al. McKenna is an independent journalist and author who specializes in public health, global health, and food policy. She is also the author of SUPERBUG: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2010). @marynmck
- Tracie McMillan, Freelance. McMillan writes about farmworkers, food systems issues, and food stamps, and much more for multiple publications and is the author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. @tmmcmillan
- Stephanie Strom, New York Times. Strom covers the business of food, including emerging markets, brands, and trends, and on issues from food safety to drought-stricken farmers. @ssstrom
- Lynne Terry, Oregonian. Terry covers food safety, animals, and “whatever else lands on my lap” in the Pacific Northwest. Her stories include deep dives behind the recent headlines. @lynnePDX
- Melanie Warner, Freelance. Warner is a freelancer reporter writing for the New York Times (where she was previously a staff reporter covering the food industry) and other publications. She was also former senior writer at Fortune magazine. She’s the author of Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.@melanie_warner
- Elizabeth Weise, USA Today. Weise covers food safety, infectious disease, agriculture, and science. She has been covering food borne illness since 2003, beginning with a trial-by-fire in her second month on the beat when the first U.S. case of mad cow was discovered. @eweise
- Gosia Wozniacka, Associated Press. Wozniacka specializes in reporting about immigration, agriculture, farmworkers, and the Latino community. A photojournalist, she also covers water issues. @gosiawozniacka
We know that there are many more female food and agriculture beat reporters out there, so please add your favorites in the comment section below.
Kelsey Gee-covers ag commodities for Wall St. Journal
Sherry Bunting-Covers dairy, Farmshine, miscellaneous ag stories around country, photographer @agmoos
Julie Walker-Agrivoice-covered dairy antitrust, Southeast agriculture
Gabrielle Langholtz-Edible Manhattan @glangholtz
Regina Schrambling-food and ag commentary @gastropoda
Marion Nestle of www.foodpolitics.com @MarionNestle
Jeannine Otto AgriNews Field Editor, Northern Illinois @AgNews_Otto
Alexis Kienlen - Ag reporter-Edmonton, Canada @alexiskienlen
Anastasia Bodnar Writes on GMO's, sustainable ag at Biofortified @geneticMaize
Many many more (great idea to do this)
See her blog, on SB 1381 at www.biotechsalon.com.
Belinda Martineau, Ph.D., was a genetic engineer in a previous life. As a Principal Scientist at Calgene, Inc. (in Davis, CA), she helped bring the world’s first commercially available genetically engineered whole food, the Flavr Savr™ tomato, to market.
During the development of that tomato, however, she was transformed from a devout believer in the promise of agricultural biotechnology into a skeptic wary of its uncertainties.
See her book, First Fruit: The Creation of the Flavr Savr™ Tomato & the Birth of Biotech Food and articles in Orion, Cooking Light, CA Coast & Ocean, & Nature Biotechnology & other mags.
Marion Nestle of http://www.foodpolitics.com
Ruth Reichl - Gourmet...et al @ruthreichl
Margot McMillen - rural/farm life perspectives at
Susan Youmans - digging deep at
Heather Gray - agriculture and civil rights at
MFK Fisher - How to Cook a Wolf, more classics at
Melinda Hemmelgarn - thanks, Amelia
Keep up the good work!
It's true there aren't enough women, but the ones we have are smart, intrepid, and deserve much more respect.
Twitter: @MicheleRSimon Website: Eat, Drink, Politics Book: Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back
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