Barbara Sweeney has a genetic disposition to storytelling. She started writing professionally 30 years ago, winning her first job as editor on Sydney’s then best-selling restaurant guide on the strength of her food knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject. In that role, Barbara witnessed firsthand the seismic shift in food culture that occurred in the 1990s and the emergence of an Australian food identity and dining culture.
Over the last decade, in her role as feature food writer with Country Style and as NSW regional editor to The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide, Barbara has told the stories of hundreds of Australian farmers and farms; regional food producers and chefs; and covered the emergent farmers market and regenerative farming movements.
Barbara founded Food & Words in 2012 to create opportunities for writers to tell their stories through events such as writers’ festivals, workshops and talks. Barbara continues to write, but now also works directly with food businesses on digital storytelling and book project development.
Barbara has also owned and operated three small businesses, been a member of the food team at TEDxSydney and was the Talking Cookbook at Sydney’s Carriageworks Farmers’ Market for five years. The highlight of her year is the annual Sydney Royal National Honey Show, where she is on the judging panel. As a writer, Barbara admires the semi colon and rarely employs exclamation marks.