Women's Impact on Food in America





Picture Citation: Russell, Malinda. A Domestic Cookbook: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts For the Kitchen. Paw Paw, Mich.: The Author, 1866. Title Page. https://apps.lib.umich.edu/blogs/beyond-reading-room/now-online-oldest-known-cookbook-authored-african-american  

Malinda Russell




She published her first cookbook in 1866, which incorporated many recipes, remedies, and event insight into the Black cuisine (i.e., soul food).1


Picture Citation: George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (digital file no. LC-B2- 3895-10) https://www.loc.gov/resource/ggbain.22078/

Ellen Swallow Richard



She was the first innovator for guidelines for clean water and designed a modernized sewage system.2 She wrote in her 1885 book called Food Materials and their Adulterations which inspired Massachusetts to adapt their Pure Food and Drug Act.2

Picture Citation: Marie Maynard Daly. Queens College Silhouette Yearbook, 1942. https://www.sciencehistory.org/historical-profile/marie-maynard-daly

Marie Maynard Daly



She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry and discovered chemistry within the food and how these chemicals were impacted people's wellbeing, especially within the heart.1


Picture Citation: Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021, May 23). Rachel Carson. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rachel-Carson


Rachel Carson



In 1962, she wrote a novel called "Silent Spring" to expose the harmful chemical (DDT) that negatively impacts the ecosystem and aspired to the revolution when it comes to the protection of the environment.7


Picture Citation: 1975 image of Liz Christy in one of her Lower East Side gardens. Courtesy of Donald Loggins. https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/community-gardens/movement

Elizabeth "Liz" Christy



In 1973, she was an originator of Green Guerillas, cleaned up the Manhattan area's environment, and created many gardens within the community.6 She was able to educate people about how to garden within the city and donations of crops throughout the city.6


Photo Citation: Bob Peterson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images. https://www.biography.com/political-figure/shirley-chisholm

Shirley Chisholm



In 1968, she contributed to establishing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to help poverty-stricken mothers gain free, adequate food for their offspring.4


Photo Citation: Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images. https://www.biography.com/activist/fannie-lou-hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

(1917- 1977)5


In 1968, She created a "pig bank" to allow black families to have pigs for food and production.5

From 1969 to the mid-1970s, she also did the Freedom Farm Cooperative (FCC) to allow black farmers to own land and acquire many acres of land for black people even to start their businesses and housing.5


Portrait of Jennifer Doudna. UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2020/doudna/photo-gallery/

Jennifer Doudna


She contributed to the creation of CRISPR technology, which can alter the genes in crops to grow in abnormal circumstances, resist pests, and elevate the production of crops.2

Boghosian, J. N., photographer. (2009) First Lady Michelle Obama official portrait. , 2009. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2010647150/.

Michelle Obama



In 2010, she established the Let's Move campaign to influence changing the school lunch for children to be healthier by implementing nutritional guidelines, local chefs, salad bars, and encouraging the children to be more active.3



  1. Institute of Food Technologist. (n.d.a.). 8 Black Scientific Pioneers Who Forever Changed Food. https://www.ift.org/news-and-publications/blog/2021/8-black-scientific-pioneers-who-changed-food
  2. Institute of Food Technologist. (n.d.b.). Three Women Who Changed the Food Industry. https://www.ift.org/news-and-publications/blog/2019/march/three-women-who-changed-the-food-industry
  3. Let's Move. (2017). Onward. https://letsmove.obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/
  4. Meredith, E. (2021, February 09). Contributions from Black Americans to America's Food Culture. Feeding America. https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/2021/02/contributions-black-americans-americas-food-culture/
  5. Michals, D. (2017). Fannie Lou Hamer. National Women's History Museum. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/fannie-lou-hamer
  6. NYC Parks. (n.d.). History of the Community Garden Movement. https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/community-gardens/movement
  7. The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson. (2022). Silent Spring. http://www.rachelcarson.org/SilentSpring.aspx

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