Alumna Zoë Johnson launches new online magazine to explore food and feminism

09 December, 2021

Zoë Johnson (MPhil in Development Studies 2017-19) has co-launched a new online magazine, Feminist Food Journal (FFJ), to explore the ways in which food and feminism intersect.

Zoë, who now works for social impact consulting group SEEK Development, set up the journal with former SEEK colleague Isabela Vera because the two believe that women’s stories and feminist perspectives are missing from current debates over food and food systems. 

I've always been interested in food; in making, growing, and eating it, and observing the innumerable ways it shapes our existence,” Zoë says. “In all my experiences with food — from personal, to academic and professional — I've been inspired by countless women shaping food and our food system in big and small ways.

“And yet, in most of what I read in the ever-growing literature on food systems and food revolutions, these women's stories are not front and center. Isabela and I created Feminist Food Journal because we think they should be… No matter how you cut it, we can't have a sustainable food system until we have a feminist food system, one that is equitable and just for all people and the planet.”

The first issue is scheduled for release in early 2022 and will focus on “MILK”. It will explore topics as diverse as the divine role of milk in the ancient matriarchal Kingdom of Nubia, women’s relationships to kosher food laws, the role of women and milk in Hinduism and nation-making, and the tensions/connections between feminism and the exploitation of female animals for dairy, among others.

Zoë and Isabela hope to attract a broad and varied audience for their journal:

“You don’t need to be obsessed with food or well-versed in agricultural economics to find our journal interesting. We want to reach anyone passionate about intersectional feminism more broadly, using compelling stories about women as the entry point.

“We would also love for FFJ to become more than a one-way channel of information. We would like it to be the catalyst for creating a community where we can learn from, support, and engage with other like-minded feminists, foodies, and organizations … We were overwhelmed and humbled by the number of amazing people who have reached out to us with pitches for ‘milk’, or got in touch to show or offer their support in other ways; we think this speaks to the appetite and need for more coverage of food topics (and all topics, really) through a feminist lens”.

The pair, who are running the journal alongside their regular full-time jobs, are aiming to produce four issues per year, funding permitting, with future issues currently scheduled to explore “WAR”, “SEX” and “EARTH”.

The pair have not yet finalised their funding model for the journal and are currently considering options, including subscriptions or freemium subscription models, pay-per-issue, or a Kickstarter, as well as exploring opportunities for grant funding, which would enable them to keep the journal free to read.

“If anyone in the ODID network has ideas or leads, we'd love to hear them!” Zoë says.

As part of current fundraising efforts they have launched FFJ for a Friend, a package of three low-carbon gifts from FFJ for the holiday season.

You can find out more about FFJ on their website and on InstagramTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.