Civil Eats is a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. We publish stories that shift the conversation around sustainable agriculture in an effort to build economically and socially just communities.
Founded in January 2009, Civil Eats is a California 501-c-3 nonprofit news organization with more 150 contributors who report on the evolving food landscape from Capitol Hill to Main Street.
Civil Eats was named the James Beard Foundation’s Publication of the Year, has been inducted into the Library of Congress, awarded the 2020 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) digital media award for Best Group Food Blog, and awarded the 2022 digital media award from IACP for Best Newsletter for our monthly members’ content, The Deep Dish.
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We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN). Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, or opinions. We avoid conflicts of interest–real or perceived–by refusing special treatment, and favors, and by refraining from political involvement. We will also avoid investment trading in any companies we cover. When conflicts are unavoidable, we will disclose them. We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services, or opinions.We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. Our news judgments are made independently–not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review, or edit content.
Even when applying these criteria, cases may arise in which the acceptance of a gift, grant, or of some other form of financial or in-kind support from a certain entity might compromise our mission or goals, or might create the appearance of such a compromise. Accordingly, Civil Eats reserves the right to decline or to return any gift, grant, or other form of support if we determine that it would not be in our best interest to accept or to continue to receive such support.
Gifts of tangible real property, personal property, securities, cryptocurrency, bequests, in-kind donations, or other such types of donations of $200,000 may only be accepted upon approval of the board of directors. We make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year. We avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources, and will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards. We do not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
Civil Eats produces content with funding from outside parties. These sources of revenue allow us to explore topics that we hope are of interest to our readers. The presentation of the content makes clear how the content has been commissioned and produced, and who has funded it. Content “underwritten by” is used to describe editorially independent content. We accept funding from third parties both for new projects and for content we are already producing. Before funding is accepted, editors are consulted about its suitability and the editor-in-chief has the final say on whether a funding deal is accepted.
An underwriter whose branding appears on editorial content may have a role in suggesting what kind of topics are covered, but the editors are not obliged to accept ideas from the underwriter. The content is written and edited by Civil Eats journalists to the same standards expected in all of our journalism. Civil Eats will not show copy to underwriters for approval.