Sometimes, the loose theme that weaves through an issue emerges early, as we’re planning the lineup of stories. Other times, it reveals itself after articles have come in from our writers and we’ve had time to marinate on it all for awhile.
The latter is how it happened this time around. It wasn’t until our late-stage layout review that the common thread connecting this issue’s stories showed up. To me, it’s about smart people solving problems. Big ones, like food waste and poor nutrition in school lunches and what in the heck is happening to all the honey bees in the U.S.
The story that I’m closest to is the one that I spent about six weeks researching and writing, about a network of teaching kitchens that has set an audacious goal of fixing our country’s illness problem. (I won’t call it a health problem.) I’d gathered data and quotes from local and national experts, and yet I couldn’t figure out where to start telling the story. It wasn’t until I spoke a second time with one of my sources, Dr. David Eisenberg of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative, that the light bulb flickered on. When he likened a teaching kitchen to a hub of “garage innovation,” like the backyard garages that launched the country’s most influential tech companies, I knew I had my theme for the article. And off I went.
I think I wrestled with this feature because the problem at its core is so daunting. We spend trillions of dollars on medical care in this country every year to deal with illnesses that we shouldn’t be getting in the first place.
What if small, individual actions like shopping local farmers’ markets, creating our own gardens of veggies and plants for pollinators, eating what’s in season, and cooking at home with all that good stuff—what if these were the cures for what ails us?
I think they just might be.
Bryn’s long career in publishing took a left turn sometime around 2010, when she discovered the joy of food writing. Since then, she’s found professional nirvana as the editor of Edible Ohio Valley, author of The Findlay Market Cookbook, and occasional instructor at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s. Find her seasonal recipes at writes4food.com.