Women Who Inspire: Naomi Starkman

(Photo Credit: Paula Crossfield)

NAME: Naomi Starkman

AGE: 43

OCCUPATION: Co-founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats

WHO SHE IS: Most of us would consider a law degree and a few executive-level stints in magazine publishing good enough to call it a day. But not Naomi Starkman. She got schooled in organic farming, and hung her shingle as a food policy consultant for groups like Consumers Union. Five years ago, she breathed fire into Civil Eats, a daily site of news and commentary about the state of the food system. Until recently, she and co-founder Paula Crossfield essentially ran the site on fumes and the good will of 100-plus unpaid contributors (myself included). However last fall, they defied the 30-day odds and raised $100K via Kickstarter, with rousing social media and financial support from the food-erati — Michael Pollan, José Andrés and Ruth Reichl among them. Now they’re really cooking with gas. My prediction? We ain’t seen nothing yet.

WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: I’ve met fewer people more driven or determined not just to make something work, but to create something for the greater good. She’d tell you that although the carrot stick of accolades is nice, it’s not what keeps her going. That would be dishing up a daily serving of news and commentary to help the rest of us make sense of how our food is grown, raised and politicized.

Filed under: 38/38


Kim ODonnel

Kim O'Donnel is a twenty-plus year veteran of the food world as a chef, journalist, and teacher. She has dispensed culinary advice and covered food policy for numerous publications including Civil Eats, the Washington Post, and USA Today. Kim is the author of three vegetarian cookbooks, including PNW Veg: 100 Vegetable Recipes Inspired by the Local Bounty of the Pacific Northwest. You can find her on Twitter: @kimodonnel and Instagram: @odonnelk