1. What is it you do in food?
I am a food and farming action~ist and advocate, working with the grassroots in communities and farmers and in policy spaces building equity in the food system to ensure food sovereignty, the human right to food and nutrition and good food all.
2. What does good food mean to you?
Good food for me is about having good health, it is about connection…family, community and place. It is knowing that the people who have reared, caught, grown or produced have received a fair wage, have fair working conditions and able to eat well themselves. It is knowing that it comes from a place where the biodiversity and soil is protected.
3. What other women have influenced you in food?
So many people have influenced my food journey… I am constantly learning especially when I travel. I love being with land elders or in the kitchen with knowledge keepers.
4. Why do we see less women in food and farming in the UK than in many other countries, and how can we change that?
I think historically with industrialisation women moved from the fields to the factories. Women are more present in food and hospitality as cooks, chefs, food prep assistants and working in factories. We are made invisible as women even more so as women of colour, often receiving much less pay and with poor working conditions. Hospitality as it recovers from the pandemic has to ensure that women have parity of pay and opportunities, have their reproductive rights and caring responsibilities respected and supported.
5. What message do you have to other women and young women in particular who are thinking about food or farming as a career?
Everyone can do it. It’s fun, creative, constantly changing and rewarding. Not without it’s challenges, the barriers and glass barriers are meant to be broken. Seek the support of networks and mentors. Most importantly do it from a place of love and joy.
Deidre ‘Dee’ Woods is an award-winning cook, community food educator, urban agriculturalist, broadcaster, and researcher, with over 25 years’ experience of working in diverse communities. In 2016 she was awarded BBC Food and Farming Awards, Cook of the Year.
Dee is a Visiting Research Associate at CAWR, Coventry University, a member of the GLA London Food Board, the Community Food Growers Network (CFGN), on the council of the Food Ethics Council, and is co-founder of Granville Community Kitchen.
Dee is co-editor of A People’s Food Policy and a member of Community Food Growers Network