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The Food Section launched in September 2021 with the support of a Substack Local grant, awarded in recognition of its aim to invigorate independent and rigorous food journalism across the American South.
Since then, the twice-weekly newsletter has made good on its promise to provide readers with the information and analyses they need to better understand contemporary Southern food culture, publishing investigations into topics ranging from COVID mortality in the hospitality industry to the contested fate of an anti-Black restaurant.
Its mix of hard-hitting journalism and engaging storytelling has already earned national recognition. In 2022, The Food Section was named a finalist in awards contests conducted by the Online News Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and LION Publishers.
Yet The Food Section wasn't envisioned as a one-person newsroom. It was designed to function as a food journalism organization, supporting and showcasing the work of writers from diverse backgrounds, all of whom are exploring how Southern food intersects with labor, race and gender, immigration, public health, and the shared built environment.
That's why the newsletter is enlisting Burgoo Paddlers, named for the oar-wielding Kentucky cooks who tend the South's most polyglot stew on behalf of their communities. These generous sponsors will underwrite The Food Section's effort to each month run a reported piece from a journalist whose perspective isn't represented in mainstream food media.
Among the stories we’re developing, for example, are a deeper dive on gun violence in fast food restaurants in rural Southern towns, which anecdotally seems to be mounting, and an overview of Secretary of Agriculture races in Southeastern states this cycle, giving our readers a better sense of the people involved and issues at play
Your donation will go directly to paying $1,000, plus expenses, for each 1,200-word freelance feature.
And indirectly, it will allow The Food Section to keep challenging assumptions, holding power to account, and making people think. Thank you for that.
The 2022 Local News Fund is a program administered by Local Media Foundation (LMF), a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with Local Media Association. The purpose of the program is to allow independent and family-owned news organizations to solicit tax-deductible donations from their communities for journalism projects that focus on critical local issues. Contributions to this program are tax-deductible to the full extent of U.S. law; please consult a tax advisor for details.