Editor’s Note: An Ode to Our Writers | Civil Eats

Editor’s Note: An Ode to Our Writers

Since 2009, Civil Eats has produced thousands of stories from a stable of hundreds of contributors and broken news on underreported stories. From state and federal policy to agroecology to urban farming and school lunch to food stamps, Civil Eats’ have reported on the most important food and agriculture stories of our time, profiled hundreds of innovative models, and provided a steady stream of insightful commentary and analysis.

We owe much of our success to the talent, dedication, and fearlessness of our writers and commentators, many of whom wrote for us pro-bono for years. Their keen sense of why these stories matter and how to tell them has won them (and the site) several accolades and awards. I am indebted to them for their passion, commitment, and craft. Now that we’re able to pay our writers, we’ve been able to add a new roster of reporters who continue to shape the debate around food and farming and are helping put Civil Eats on the map.

Take Elizabeth Grossman, a Portland, Oregon-based journalist specializing in environmental science and health. In just the past few months, she has produced several high-profile stories for us, including a primer on nanosilver (tiny pesticides); a look at how microfibers are ending up in fish; a story on regulating air pollution from large livestock operations; a review of the largest study of human pesticide exposure; a report on heavy metals in chocolate; and a new study that shows that emulsifiers in processed food can interfere with microbes in the gut.

Several of her stories have also appeared on TIME.com, one of our media partners, reaching millions of people. In other words: Lizzie is killing it. She’s a sharp reporter, gets the science and the sources, and her stories deserve attention.

As interest in food policy grows, it’s gratifying to see our writers’ work being cited regularly by major publications and other outlets. We’ve seen our stories aggregated and linked to by many outlets that are getting hip to the fact that these issues matter. Serious food news is taking central stage in mainstream media, as Tom Colicchio (one of our advisory board members) starts his new role as MSNBC’s first permanent food correspondent. We’re excited to see food policy take off and glad that we’ve helped shape the trend. Here’s what Take Part had to say about us in a recent article about Colicchio’s post.

Such holistic food coverage in journalism—not focusing on what the trending ingredient du jour might be, but actually delving into the systems that create the culture—isn’t entirely new, but it has gained traction in recent years thanks to grassroots publications such as Civil Eats, a website that won the James Beard Award for Publication of the Year in 2014.

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Finally, none of the work we’ve done over the past three years would have been possible without the assistance of our outgoing Deputy Managing Editor, Adrien Schless-Meier, who volunteered for Civil Eats for most of her tenure, and who wrote dozens of outstanding posts for us.

Among many stories, Adrien has covered how urban land maps support reclaiming abandoned lots; conducted interviews with farmers’ lawyers, urban farmers, and congresswomen; and penned one of our most popular posts about how to get more involved in the food system. Thank you, Adrien, for sticking with us, for helping us grow, and for making Civil Eats what it is today.

Continue to watch this space for more cutting-edge reporting, new authors, and new ideas on how to make the food system sustainable. And thanks to all of you who have been early subscribers; we are so grateful for your contributions to help support our writers and to bring their stories to a wider audience. Please take a moment to subscribe if you haven’t yet; our writers will thank you. And so will I.

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Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and co-founded the Food & Environment Reporting Network. 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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