Between sips of Direct Trade coffee and hard kombucha, women at Cherry Bombe Jubilee this April in New York City talked food, business, and how they are making a difference in a male-dominated industry.
The Cherry Bombe Jubilee conference brings together and celebrates women in the food industry. Created by the founders of the indie magazine, Cherry Bombe, the Jubilee turns the tables on the lack of female attendance at the world’s most prestigious food conferences. Founders Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu host the event and curate a lineup of chefs, bakers, restaurant owners, food writers, and more to speak and socialize.
This year, overlooking the water at Pier 17 in the South Seaport District, guests enjoyed food and beverages all day from Dig Inn, Hot Bread Kitchen, Ramona, Kombrewcha, and other forward thinking food businesses. Home cooking icon Nigella Lawson and Michelin star chef Ruth Rogers headlined the event, speaking alongwide other women changemakers in the food world. Panel discussions included “The Future is Female… and So is Right Now,” “Cooking with Love,” and “Bright Lights, Broad Nation.”
Spaces of support for women can be hard to come by in an industry that glorifies men (just 8 percent of Michelin Starred restaurants in New York City are run by women). Jubilee is about cultivating that support.
“We started Jubilee because women were being left out of food conferences taking place around the world and we wanted a day where we could come together, network, make friends, build our community, and discuss the important matters of the day,” Wu and Diamond note on the Cherry Bombe website.
Emily Carter—the Community and Partnerships Manager of Imperfect Produce—attended this year’s Jubilee and says that she’s built her network primarily through Cherry Bombe. She went to her first Jubilee in San Francisco when she moved to the city last year to forge professional connections. Some of the women she met there became her closest friends.
“It reminded me of college where you can go up to anyone and start a conversation,” Carter says. “There’s no intimidation or pretense, you just jump right in.”
Imperfect Produce sources produce that grocery stores won’t buy because of its appearance and sells it through subscription boxes. Billions of pounds of fruits and vegetable are wasted every year because they don’t meet grocery store standards. Imperfect Produce is working to minimize that.
Like Carter, many Jubilee attendees have dedicated their careers to challenging the food industry status quo. Graphic designer Hannah Lee recently quit her job with Nike to create an online platform that helps people develop more sustainable kitchen habits. Her website, Closed Loop Cooking, will offer resources on composting, cooking seasonally, eating a plant-based diet, and other practices that support waste reduction and minimal resource use.
“I am interested in approaching the topic of sustainable food systems in an accessible way. I came to Jubilee to find out how all of these women in the industry are approaching sustainability,” she says.
Home cooking icon Nigella Lawson and Michelin star chef Ruth Rogers headlined the event, speaking alongside other women changemakers in the food world.
Writer and strategist Sara Weinreb got her start working in fashion. In 2015, she founded an ethically made clothing line where she curated pieces made responsibly with regard for environmental impact and the people who created them. She has since transitioned to focusing on sustainable food. Her popular blog and newsletter help people make more environmentally conscious food and lifestyle choices.
She advocates simple changes, such as buying pantry staples in bulk instead of plastic packaging, and choosing to purchase from food brands that are transparent about how they source their products. Weinreb comes from a business and entrepreneurship background, and she is interested in how small sustainable food companies can scale up to operate like large profitable brands without compromising their values.
Even as a specialist in this field, Weinreb sometimes feels overwhelmed by the lack of environmental consciousness in the food industry. “It’s a huge system and sometimes it feels like the more you know the worse it is,” she says.
Carter is hopeful. “Our generation is really interested in voting with their dollars, and I think people are starting to care more about how our food systems impact the environment,” she says.
Women in the food industry are fighting not just for equal representation, but for a more enlightened food system. Jubilee provides a platform to communicate, refine, and grow these efforts. “We all intersect in this community, and we all depend on each other to make progress,” says Carter.
Photo at top: The Cherry Bombe Jubilee conference in New York City empowers women in the food industry.
Women have been playing sports dating back to the 19th century but more recently, women have been making a name for themselves in male-dominated sports. This episode of Medill Newsmakers highlights women competing in non-traditional sports.
Photo at top: Boxer Michelle Morales tapes her hands before time in the ring. (Leana Edwards/MEDILL)
Not too long ago, most “real” doctors would not consider employing natural medicine. In fact, naturopathic procedures were so stigmatized that even Dr. C. Leslie Smith, one of the pioneers of holistic medicine in the Midwest and an acupuncturist with her own practice in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, never foresaw herself practicing it.
Smith was training to become a general surgeon at the University of Illinois College of Medicine when hardship struck. With only one year of school remaining, she developed a repetitive stress injury in her arms, which impeded her ability to operate.
“The more I tried to compensate with my left hand, the more my right hand became inflamed and vice versa,” she says. At one point, her arms became completely immobilized and nothing—not the physical therapy she was completing nor the narcotics and anti-inflammatories she was prescribed—could mollify her acute pain.
The number of African-Americans in the MLB has declined throughout the years, and there are a number of factors to blame. In this edition of Medill Newsmakers Brianna Williams talks to players – past and present- to find out what is behind the trend.
Photo at top: (Ozzie Smith, MLB Player. (Brianna Williams/MEDILL)
Chicago has been an epicenter for sneaker culture since Michael Jordan set the bar with his Air Jordan 1. But how has the industry evolved since then? Find out what some of the prominent figures in Chicago sneaker culture have to say.
Photo at top: Pedro Loza shows off his collection of rare sneakers (Alexis Culmer/MEDILL)
In recent years, Chicago has made international headlines for the sky-high murder rates in the city. Unfortunately, this problem has cast a shadow on the people that are doing their part to reverse the trend. During this episode of Medill Newsmakers, Richard Foster-Shelton highlights the people in Chicago that are making a positive impact – from 1st District Commissioner Richard Boykin to Jenesis Scullark of the Jeremy Scullark Foundation.
Photo at top: Chicago’s iconic skyline masks the truth about the city. (Richard Foster-Shelton/MEDILL)
From NBA front offices to recreational leagues in Chicago, basketball and analytics have become almost impossible to separate. From Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s to Daryl Morey’s Houston Rockets, find out how an analytics revolution has taken basketball by storm.
Photo at top: The net at a Lincoln Park court. Not pictured: Countless recreational players imitating Steph Curry. (Lauren Rosen/MEDILL)
From Havana to Athens to Lima and many more destinations around the world, Sapna the Chicago vegetarian traveler, blogger and Instagrammer delivers international journeys to people’s fingertips with one click, or swipe.
She started her blog, vegetariantourist.com, six years ago to share her traveling experiences with people and help them find the best of food out there in the U.S. and anywhere abroad. Her 15,000 followers on Instagram turn to her when they want to find restaurants that accommodate their vegetarian and gluten free dietary needs. Sapna’s goal is to make it easier for people to experiment with food while traveling and escape the daunting fear of food restriction.
“It makes places less scary, so that you yourself can feel comfortable, like okay I’ve seen all these pictures on Instagram or I’ve read a couple of blogs and people said it’s okay not to worry,” Sapna said. Continue reading →