Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Modern Farmer

via USDA Photo by by Keith Weller
 Modern Farmer has a great article on the diversity of potatoes and the efforts to expand the number of varieties being grown in the US. It's a great example of what I love about MF; an in-depth article about something not enough people know about, and, in this case, a great partnership. Written by Ferris Jabr, the article notes "This article was reported with support from the UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship." So, yay!
But, depressingly, the New York Times is reporting that this wonderful, quirky magazine may by about to disappear. Currently, the magazine part of the operation has suspended after the departure of the magazine’s founder, Ann Marie Gardner, followed by the remainder of the editorial staff. The editorial content has been left to two interns--and they're gone February 1st
Sadly, there is a Canadian connection to this story. The Times reports;
At the center of Modern Farmer’s collapse is the magazine’s financial performance. Mr. Giustra, who made money from mining interests, founded Lion’s Gate Entertainment and is a major contributor to the foundation headed by Bill Clinton, had been eager to move into food. He started an Italian olive oil company, invested in both industrial and small-scale farming operations and financed a specialty food company based in San Francisco.
Modern Farmer was part of that portfolio. But after a handful of issues, Mr. Giustra was disappointed in Ms. Gardner’s performance regarding early revenue figures and her ability to deliver additional investors. In the end, the chasm between the two became too wide to bridge and she left.
 Modern Farmer has been a great read. Mr. Giustra has said that the spring edition will be cancelled, but after some new hires, he plans a summer issue. I'll be surprised if he finds writers and editors who can catch that same quirky tone--ranging between global warming and chicken breeds with passion and good humour.

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