This Site is Your Site: The Voice of the Food Movement is Here | Civil Eats

This Site is Your Site: The Voice of the Food Movement is Here

“Nail biter!” “Cliff hanger!” “I’m on the verge of a heart attack!”

Those were some of the messages flooding our inboxes and Twitter and Facebook feeds in the last hours of our successful Kickstarter campaign on Friday. Trying to raise $100,000 in 30 days via crowdsourcing for content is strange, nerve-wracking, and not for the faint at heart. We are proud to say that we raised the highest amount to date for content for an online daily news site via Kickstarter.

We succeeded because a vast community of people believe in our work and value this public service. For all of you who contributed, in big and small ways, through financial donations, social media, phone calls, emotional support and encouragement, and to the new folks who’re just joining us and hope to widen the circle: Thank you. This site is your site.

Michael Dimock, President of Roots of Change, and a tireless supporter of our campaign who was with us as we crossed the finish line, says our Kickstarter was a “watershed moment for the food movement because it proved there is a cause worth rallying for.” We think he’s right. We’re enormously gratified that you believe in our work and vision and grateful for your support to take it to the next level.

We thank Dimock, as well as his fellow leading food movement folks, including Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, Anna Lappé, Marion Nestle, Joan Gussow, Mark Bittman, Ruth Reichl, Dan Barber, Dan Imhoff, Amanda Hesser, Alice Markowitz, Nicolette Hahn Niman, Andy Fisher, Bob Scowcroft, Ricardo Salvador, Bonnie Powell, Tom Philpott, Nikki Henderson, Kari Hamerschlag, Tom Laskawy, Sam Fromartz, Myra Goodman, Robert Epstein, Sarah Henry, Jane Black, Poppy Davis, Maryn McKenna, Brahm Ahmadi, Nancy Hirshberg, Dave Murphy & Lisa Stokke, Haven Bourque, Leslie Hatfield, Kerry Trueman, Barry Estabrook, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Ralph Loglisci, Clare Leschin-Hoar, Evan Kleiman, Mark Lipson, Corby Kummer, Danielle Nierenberg, Richard McCarthy, and many, many more.

We thank organizations, such as Roots of Change, CUESA, the Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch, Environmental Working Group, Family Farmed, FoodCorps, Rainforest Action Network, Pesticide Action Network, IATP, People’s Community Market, Fair Food Network, the James Beard Foundation, Daily Acts, the Greenhorns, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, La Cocina, NSAC, MOSES, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Human Society of the U.S., Food Day, ForageSF, Food Democracy Now, Wellness Warrior, Chefs Collaborative, Food Tank, Food+Tech Connect, Not in My Food, Lexicon of Sustainability, Fare Resources, Eat Real Festival, Slow Food USA, and many more that contributed, donated, and shared our story.

We thank the chefs: Alice Waters, Deborah Madison, José Andrés, Marion Batali, Tom Colicchio, Suzanne Goin, Kim O’Donnel, Ann Gentry, Traci des Jardins, Dan Barber, Paul Arenstam, Samin Nosrat, Heidi Swanson, and so many more for offering to cook for us, offering their restaurants, and offering support.

We thank the restaurants/restauranteurs: Lowell Sheldon of Peter Lowell’s; Ari Derfel of Gather and Verbena; Margherita Stewart of Piccino; Charlie Hallowell of Pizzaiolo and Penrose; and dozens of others.

We thank the businesses: BiRite Market, Stonyfield, Straus Family Creamery, Organic Valley, Mindful Meats, Hudson Valley Seed Library, BreadSRSLY, Fair Share Community Supported Fisheries, Edible Communities, Cowgirl Creamery, Good Eggs, Edible Excursions, Applegate, Alemany Farm, Healdsburg Shed, Belcampo, Carla Martin for her chocolate classes, and many more for-profit ventures that care about a triple bottom line.

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Thank you to the band of bloggers and writers who wrote for us for free this past month: Twilight Greenaway, Barry Estabrook, Kim O’Donnel, Jason Mark, Kerry Trueman, Kristin Wartman, Tom Laskawy, Tracie McMillan, Raj Patel, Brie Mazurek, Amber Turpin, Andy Bellati, Anna Lappé, and more.

Thank you to the news and publishing folks that thought our Kickstarter deserved some ink: Treehugger, Mother Nature Network, Ecocentric, Food Safety News, Good Food Web, Food Tech Connect, Food Republic, Greenhorns, Seeder’s Digest, and Eater, and those who shared our story via social media, including ObamaFoodorama, Perennial Plate, Cooking up a Story, Bay Area Bites, Edible SF, Marin, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Madison, Sustainable Table, Food52, Culinate, Grist, Earth Eats, Chelsea Green, folks at Mother Jones, Nopalize, and so many more.

According to our analytics, this campaign was largely made successful via our Web site, but also because of Twitter. So, to those of you on Twitter: Thank you for your ever present tweets, re-tweets, and notes of encouragement and support. (The list of those folks is too long to include here, but check out our Twitter handle to see more.)

There are so many to thank that if your name doesn’t appear here right now, it doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful. We’re just tired! (The full list of supporters to our Kickstarter will be listed on our site soon, but don’t hesitate to ask us to add you to this post.)

Many people openly questioned our ask and doubted we could raise $100k online. We’re pleased to prove the nay-sayers wrong. Hundreds of organizations raise money every year via foundations, individual donors, fundraisers, and membership drives. As observers of the food movement, we’ve seen how small the funder pool is. We’ve seen how challenging it is for organizations to work together because they have to prove to funders that their work is both unique and yet collaborative.

We wanted to go big and to bring ourselves to the people directly, first, to show that we are a force unto ourselves that does both: Produce uniquely collaborative content. We think we have proven that. We hope that in the future, foundations and individual donors will agree that our site is a worthy cause and want to help us continue long into the foreseeable future.

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Now that we’ve raised the initial money–it is after all, a Kickstarter, money to help us kick start our long-term goals–we will begin the process of bringing on a managing editor, create a pay structure to begin paying our writers and contributors, and developing and implementing a membership program to encourage individual support on the site. (Including a tip jar that you’ll see soon here so you can continue online giving.)

You’ll see these new changes coming online in early 2014. Meanwhile, to our supporters: Enjoy your giveaways! We will be getting those out to you over the next couple of months. And you can look forward to continued hard-hitting commentary and news right here.

If you’ve ever questioned whether there is a food movement, look no further: You’re building it.

Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford. Naomi has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.  Read more >

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  1. I'm so excited that this has been successful and I'm looking forward to reading all your new work. It's great to know that there is a whole range of people out there who are intent on building safer food systems, exploring the power relations of food and working within new paradigms outside the industrial food regime!!!
  2. Congratulations! I'm so glad to see that Civil Eats will be growing in new directions. However, I am curious how (or if) the editors are looking to reach people who aren't already "the choir"; that is, people who aren't already reading Mother Jones, buying critical food issue books, and subscribing to newsletters from Food and Water Watch, Roots of Change, etc.

    I love keeping updated with analysis of new stories and issues, but I also feel that there is a lot of space in this movement for more people who currently may just see themselves as foodies, food service or ag workers, and gardeners, but not necessarily critics, leaders, or activists.

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