Jodi Rhoden is a social worker, writer, activist, and entrepreneur. Jodi is the founder and former owner of Short Street Cakes in West Asheville, the author of Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition (Lark Books, 2011), and has recently earned her Master of Social Work degree. Jodi is now working towards her LCSW and is working as a therapist specializing in attachment, addiction, and trauma healing.
Jodi graduated from the University of Georgia in Athens with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a certificate in Women’s Studies. In Athens she met her soon-to-be husband, Duncan. Together they moved to Boston, MA, where they discovered the legacy of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, becoming live-in community members at the Haley House, a community inspired by Day’s vision of modern-day “houses of hospitality.”
In Boston, Jodi also became active in the community gardening movement, working with CitySprouts and The Farm School to establish gardens in city schools. At the same time, Jodi was hired as a trainer in the Haley House’s bakery training program, a non-profit bakery that taught job skills to underemployed people. It was through these experiences of serving meals- of baking and sowing and harvesting in community- that Jodi began to make the connections between food and, well, everything else.
In 2001, Jodi and Duncan moved to Asheville NC, which was, at the time, a sleepy little mountain town. Jodi grew food with the Bountiful Cities Project, and worked as a member of the Asheville Community Resource Center collective. In 2005, Jodi and Duncan welcomed their son, Jasper. Jodi began baking and selling cakes from home, and Short Street Cakes was born, moving to brick and mortar in West Asheville in 2008.
In 2010, Jodi was given the opportunity to write her book, Cake Ladies, which was a labor of love and a soul journey, a love song to cakes and the women who bake them. Cake Ladies was published in 2011 by Lark Books, and that same year, Jodi was recognized as Mountain Bizworks’ Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Jodi helped found the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, began teaching classes in baking and business planning, and organizing around racial justice.
In 2016, in order to expand upon her writing, teaching, and social justice work, Jodi sold Short Street Cakes to her dear friend and long-time Cake Shop employee, Olga Pérez. Short Street Cakes continues to thrive and grow under Olga’s leadership. Jodi, Duncan, and Jasper have since relocated to Philadelphia, PA, where Jodi recently completed her MSW degree and is currently working towards her LCSW while working as a therapist specializing in substance use disorders.