The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink

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Fortune and Food & Wine teamed up for the second year to bring you the dynamos bringing fresh ideas to everything from clean water and home products to goat cheese and wine—in ways that benefit the broader world. —By Beth Kowitt, Christine Quinlan, Lucy Madison, and Shadia Alame
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Nikiko Masumoto

Artist, Activist, and Farmer, Masumoto Family Farm
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Photo: Gosia Wozniacka

At least one good thing has come out of the California drought, according to farmer-artist-activist Masumoto: “It’s forcing the state to have big conversations about the future of water and climate change.” Masumoto, who works with her family at the Masumoto Family Farm, is an important voice in those conversations. When she’s not working on the farm, the 29-year-old speaks at conferences and forums around the world, raising awareness about economic issues facing small, family farms, and encouraging broader discussions about climate change and labor policies in the agriculture world. She has also worked to educate grocers and consumers about the merits of small fruits, which require less water to grow than their larger counterparts. The performance artist has also managed to carve out time for her artistic pursuits. “I couldn’t survive as a farmer without making space and time for my creative projects,” she says. “Most of my ideas come to me when I’m on the tractor.”

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