Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


Women are influential in the production and reproduction of food systems. Historically, domesticity positioned women as gatekeepers to their family’s food consumption; these food practices have in turn informed cultural codes that construct personal identity. Feminist scholars have investigated how cooking and feeding practices affect a woman’s perception of self and interaction with society. Both practices are viewed as a simultaneous burden and pleasure, as an act of victimization and empowerment. These binaries must be deconstructed in order to create change within the food system. The impact of women taking control of the full cycle – gaining knowledge of where there food comes from, how it was grown, and how it came to their table – is lacking in current research. The role as gatekeeper provides women with the power to cultivate lasting change in today’s local food system. This research gives voice to five influential women who are initiating transformative projects throughout Holland. These women empower themselves and others through creating a life of gardening, cooking, feeding, and eating. They encourage everyone to learn about their food and to overcome individualistic tendencies; the result will foster sustainable community around healthy food systems. Their organizations could increase social impact by collaborating with one another through the physical medium of a shared meal. These women will overturn the perceived burden-pleasure binary within women’s relationship to food by sustaining positive change within their local food systems.


Food Processing | Growth and Development | Sustainability