Saturday, May 28, 2022

BFN’s Dr. Veronica L. Womack honored ‘Black Women in Food’ award

Washington, D.C.-based food and beverage agency Dine Diaspora announced its “Black Women in Food” 2022 awards, and Dr. Veronica L. Womack became selected as one of 31 honorees across the globe. 

“I am so honored to be acknowledged for such a prestigious award as a member of such a fantastic group of global Black women,” said Womack, founder of U.S. Department of Agriculture grant project Black Farmers’ Network. “The Pan-African healing,  hope and connection to our food work is truly extraordinary and inspiring. This award is very important for us to be recognized by members of our community for the wonderful work that Black women do to create and preserve foodways.”

Connecting to this year’s Women’s History Month theme of “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” Dine Diaspora’s fifth annual Black Women in Food Initiative celebrates Black women who are transforming the food and beverage industry globally — from Lagos, Nigeria, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Honorees have made invaluable contributions in local to international communities. Full list of honorees here. Womack became recognized in the award’s “The Trailblazers” category. Described as women who are well-accomplished leaders and have paved the way for others in food. Womack joined the following four pioneers in this category: 

Karen Washington (Bronx, New York): co-owner/farmer at Rise & Root Farm. Also a political activist and community organizer fighting for food justice.

Zella Palmer (New Orleans, Louisiana): director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture. 

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli (Lagos, Nigeria): co-founder and executive chair of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition, co-founder of AACE Foods, founder of Changing Narratives Africa and founder of Nourishing Africa.

Margaret Nyamumbo (San Francisco, California): founder and CEO of Kahawa 1893, a coffee company with a mission to close the gender gap in the coffee industry.

During 2017, Womack founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture research grant BFN in Milledgeville, Georgia. Its site, blackfarmersnetwork.com, launched the following year as a vehicle to disseminate the 20-plus years of Black Belt Region research by the rural researcher and political scientist. The site shares the stories, services and products of rural African-American farmers, navigating a now digital-driven economy. Womack and the network are committed to agricultural preservation and ownership within rural Black communities, building sustainable agribusinesses and agritourism experiences online.

Womack also became the first-ever executive director of Georgia College & State University’s Rural Studies Institute, a national, preeminent institute designed to equip and sustain rural communities in an ever-changing tech society. A product of the Alabama Black Belt, Womack authored “Abandonment in Dixie: Underdevelopment in the Black Belt,” which explores the racial history of the South and offers solutions to move Rural America forward.  

Formed by Maame Boakye and Nina Oduro, Dine Diaspora amplifies the influence of African food culture around the world. The Black-woman owned and operated agency is steeped in culinary, community and commerce in Washington, D.C. In its now seventh year, Dine Diaspora works with culinary creatives and brands to drive value in new and existing markets. 

It successfully provides digital marketing; immersive culinary experience design and production; influencer engagement; and food business resource development. For its fifth-year anniversary and annual edition of Black Women in Food Initiative, Dine Diaspora’s all-star lineup of judges selected the 31 honorees with a diversity of flavor and range of influence.

“As a daughter of the Black Belt Region and a reflection of the women in my immediate and extended family,” said Womack, “our food heritage and traditions have been a very important part of our families, our communities and our culture.”

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