See Ya 2011, Hello 2012! A Civil Eats Story Round-Up

Happy end of 2011! Whew. What a ride.

On behalf of Civil Eats we’re proud to have made it through our third full year of delivering some of the good food communities’ top stories and posts from the front lines of the food revolution. Occupy your food system people!

As we do on a daily basis, we gratefully acknowledge that this labor of love continues to grow and thrive. Without the tireless volunteer efforts of our talented and dedicated managing editor, Paula Crossfield, our co-founder and editor, Naomi Starkman, and the support of Stacey Slate, our tenacious deputy managing editor, we would not be here today.

We are very proud of our accomplishments to date. Since January 2009, we’ve now posted 1,471 pieces, averaging 30 per month this last year.

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In 2011, we published 21 interviews with folks working towards a just and equitable food system. We talked with Mark Bittman, Kathleen Merrigan, Josh Viertel and Albert Straus to name a few. Ten of those interviews were part of our Faces & Visions of the Food Movement series which aims to highlight the motivations of people who work on behalf of food systems change and connect the dots between their goals, the people and groups in their community, and how they work together to realize their visions.

We covered critical stories relating to Genetically Modified Organisms, Occupy the Food System, the Secret Farm Bill, BPAs, Farm Workers and that irritating Food Plate.

We continued our monthly community conversation, Kitchen Table Talks, in San Francisco and in New York and hope to see one in Chicago in 2012. In those conversations we discussed critical topics relating to the growing food revolution including: Occupy the Food System, the secret Farm Bill, food activism, farm labor, war veterans turned farmers and chocolate, to name a few. (Please let us know if you’d like to start a KTT in your town. We are happy to help you get started.)

This year we also partnered with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism News21 course on food reporting and the class wrote a few stories for us and will continue to in 2012. And, we thank the New York Times and Washington Post for sending readers our way.

As an all-volunteer effort, we are thrilled to have accomplished so much.

Thanks, as always, goes to all of our writers who contribute their work without compensation. We’d love a shout out to all of our dedicated contributors: Tamar Adler, Vanessa Barrington, Helena Bottemiller, Haven Bourque, Siena Chrisman, Eve Fox, Twilight Greenaway, Rose Hayden-Smith, Sarah Henry, Kate Hoppe, Ulla Kjarval, Anna Lappe, Tom Laskaway, Ralph Loglisci, Dave Murphy, Kim O’Donnel, Antonio Roman-Alcala, Kerry Trueman, Amber Turpin, Adrianna Velez, Kristin Wartman, and Mark Winne. As always our goal is to pay our writers a fair wage for their efforts. We hope the work we do brings value and inspires continued efforts for a world that works for everyone.

Now, in no particular order, some of our favorite stories of the year:

1. Why Laying Off Ag Reporter Phillip Brasher is Bad for Food by Paula Crossfield got a lot of attention and played a part in why Gannett re-hired him.

2. Why the Food Movement Should Occupy Wall Street by Siena Chrisman connected the dots between the national Occupy movement and the good food revolution.

3. Andy Fisher’s piece, Growing Power Takes a Massive Contribution from Wal-Mart, generated a good deal of conversation on money and the movement.

4. A Big Fat Debate by Kristin Wartman was one of our most read pieces with 77 comments and 35,915 views. Kristin covered how the health and nutrition community are beginning to debunk misleading information about the importance of fat in our diets. The piece caused a big fat debate on Civil Eats as well.

5. The second most popular post was Where do Americans Get Their Calories (Infographic) by Andrea Jezovit. It was one of many articles posted as part of our ongoing partnership with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism News21 course on food reporting.

6. We are ever grateful that Anna Lappé has written a lot of pieces for us recently, a few exposing conflicting interests. Her post Who’s Behind the United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and Why it Matters generated 25 comments and contains very valuable information for any food activist.

7. The North East had it hard this year and Ulla Kjarval shared New York Farmers Struggle in Wake of Hurricane Irene … keeping us all up to speed with the challenging situation.

8. GMOs will continue to be a hot topic for years to come. GMO and Organic Co-Existence: Why We Really Just Can’t Get Along by Paula Crossfield highlights how we really must take a stand against GMOs if we value our organic farming heritage.

9. Transparency in labeling will also continue to be an important issue worth fighting for in 2012. Read Naomi Starkman’s piece on the Just Label It campaign and look for an updates in the year ahead.

10. Finally, for all those who say it’s too expensive to buy good food. Please read How to Stay a Foodie Family on Food Stamps by Corbyn Hightower.

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