Like many of you, we feel heartbroken in the wake of this election, and our ideals as a country are being challenged. However, a new resolve has also emerged, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of this contentious campaign cycle. We see those around us pivoting and making personal commitments to new kinds of work to improve the lives of all Americans.
Journalism will play an important role over next four years and we believe that now more than ever we need to tell the stories of those who have been marginalized in our society, and those who are working to make change. We need to break down complex policy changes and shine a light on the people and elements of the natural world they impact the most. With some in the ag media pointing out that Trump will fight “the so-called good food movement and undoing Obama-era agricultural and environmental policies,” now is the time to remember why this work matters.
When we founded Civil Eats in 2009, our idea was to support a growing community of people who were concerned about our food system. We wanted to profile people changing the food system from the ground up as well as covering Washington and the policy that has impacted what we eat.
We focused on individuals making change in their everyday lives because we believed that change truly happens on the ground. From sustainable agricultural practices, food justice, and nutrition, to state and federal policy, Civil Eats has reported on the most important food and agriculture stories of our time. And the site has become a trusted news source producing meaningful, nuanced content, which is overlooked in our current media landscape. It’s for these reasons that we were awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Publication of the Year in 2014.
Since then, Civil Eats has continued to break important food policy news and spark positive change. The site was the first to break the news that FDA will start testing for glyphosate in food. And it was the first national news site to report on the Navajo Nation’s new junk food tax (with media partner Mother Jones) and helped catalyze a conversation about dietitians rallying against Kraft’s new seal on its Singles.
The team has reported extensively on pesticide exposure and worker health, the move toward antibiotic-free meat and cage-free eggs, the impact of additives in food such as emulsifiers on human health, the fight for fair wages for food workers, and on the value of biodiversity on farms.
And unique in the food media space, Civil Eats has had an ongoing mission to cover issues of diversity and food justice in our reporting, and it has actively sought out reporters and commentators and leaders of color. We believe these very issues are at the very heart of the divide in our country today, and we will continue to create a platform for much-needed dialogue and discussion on race and food.
Like America, Civil Eats is now at a crossroads. As an independent media outlet, we’ve never taken outside funding or advertising. Instead, we rely on support from foundations and our readers, and raising money for good reporting is getting harder every day. Our current president-elect ran a campaign that consistently maligned the media, and some say social media and the misinformation spread there won him the presidency. Some smart people fear that good journalism is not long for this world.
We know that’s not true. We need good journalism now more than ever as many of the policies that have improved the food system over the past eight years will likely be challenged in new ways. We want to be there to hold this administration accountable, but we need your support in order to do that. Today, Americans need to be more creative than ever before when it comes building a better country for all, and the food movement holds so many shining examples. We hope that Civil Eats can continue to cover these and other important stories.
Please consider attending our first, in-person benefit in San Francisco on Tuesday, November 29, donating, and signing up for an annual subscription if you have not yet done so. We need your support now more than ever.
Together, we hope to continue to speak truth to power and fight for a better food system for all.
-Naomi, Twilight, & Paula