Editor's Mixing Bowl

Editor’s Mixing Bowlbike

When the current recession started back in late 2007, I remember thinking that we would have to fasten our seatbelts tightly for what could be a wild ride through a year or so of rough terrain. I also wondered if perhaps the roads would become safer as the monstrous SUVs proved uneconomical, and whether we would see more people venturing out on bicycles to do their errands.

Nearly four years later, it’s apparent that it’s not a seatbelt, but a tighter belt on the pants that’s been needed. And sure enough, at least in my usual Berkeley and Oakland haunts, SUVs are giving way to tiny cars, while loads of young people are living car-free in the flatlands, using their bikes for everything from shopping to socializing.

Oh, and it’s not just young people on bikes. Here is Laurence Schechtman, aka Laurence of Berkeley, who I met for the first time as he biked up to one of the gardening parties he’s been coordinating. A veteran organizer, Laurence has become a standard-bearer for another new trend spawned of the down economy—sharing. With his “Neighborhood Vegetables” project, a group works together to get someone’s veggie garden up to full food-producing capacity. Music and a potluck lunch are part of the activity, as is conversation. During the bantering that took place around one such potluck table, Laurence made a statement I thought worth jotting down:

“Unless you first have a society where people are talking to each other, politics are irrrelevant.”

The words seem relevant to the ongoing experience of assembling this magazine, where people of differing views, such as vegans passionate about animal rights and supporters of urban animal husbandry, can be brought into conversation, even if it gets a little heated. As Helen Krayenhoff, who helps with art, writing, and editing for Edible East Bay, said to me recently, “Strong voices help us hone our thinking. We don’t have to agree, and we can learn from each other.”

In closing, I would like to say what an honor it is to share the first ever “Publication of the Year” award from the James Beard Foundation, which in May 2011 was jointly bestowed upon the Edible Communities member/publishers in recognition of our work producing edible magazines like this one across the continent. Here is how the foundation committee described us in their award announcement:

“The publications produced by the Edible Communities company are “locavores” with national appeal. They are locally grown and community based, like the foods, family farmers, growers, retailers, chefs, and food artisans they feature. The company’s unique publishing model addresses the most crucial trends in food journalism; the publications are rooted in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada, celebrating local, seasonal foods with the goal of transforming the way we shop, cook, and eat. Their underlying values speak to today’s spirit of shared responsibility: every person has the right to affordable, fresh, healthful food on a daily basis.”

Thanks to all our readers, writers, photographers, and illustrators, and especially to our advertisers, for being part of the celebration!

Cheryl Angelina Koehler


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