With Elizabeth Archerd retiring after such a long and impressive tenure, the size of the metaphorical shoes she has left behind to be filled is nothing short of considerable. In fact, it will take several people to fill them. As a part of this new team assembled to carry on in her absence, I am excited to join The Wedge at such an exhilarating moment of change and growth. As you’ll see in the survey that follows this letter, we’ve got big plans for the newsletter, which will be my primary charge as the new Wedge communications coordinator. The biggest change you will see is the migrating of the newsletter to a quarterly publishing schedule. Starting in March, there will be four issues a year, delivered in rhythm with the changing seasons. Because of this change, in March we will also be launching a new email newsletter that will be sent twice monthly, to keep you up to date on changing member specials and updates with the expansion project. I encourage you to sign up for this, as it will convey information that is more timely and urgent than the newsletter.
So what then will the newsletter look like going forward? My dream is to make it informative and beautiful, inquisitive and thoughtful, and overflowing with stories about real people behind real food. But I need your help to make it something that you’ll look forward to finding in your mailbox. After all, the newsletter exists for you, the membership, so I hope you’ll take your input as seriously as I do.
My own love affair with The Wedge actually started over cheese (true to my Wisconsin roots) but the passion quickly spread to the Produce aisle, where local relationships were abundantly evident in the care and quality of products you could find every day. And the more I learned about The Wedge being more than just a grocery store, the harder I fell. That was five years ago, and the romance has yet to show signs of fading.
I grew up on a farm above the Manitowoc River, where it was easy to forget that other people didn’t eat vegetables from their gardens or eggs from their chicken coops. That was made painfully obvious to me years later, my first night in a Carleton College dining hall. I had always been interested in food-sometimes too interested, as my mom, who came home to find her toddler trying to operate the stovetop, will attest—but in college, cooking became more than just a passing interest. It was a posture of freedom, a tangible stance against a tasteless, textureless existence. Since then, through moves to other countries and states, through jobs that ranged from stone mason to turtle tagger to radio journalist, cooking has remained central to helping me feel grounded and connected to both the land and the people around me, no matter where I am.
In 2011, I went to the University of California, Berkeley, to study journalism under Michael Pollan. I felt he had grasped something that I had been feeling for a long time but not yet able to articulate: that almost every problem facing our world could be viewed through the lens of food and that those were stories to which people paid attention. I spent two years with him and graduated last summer having learned a lot about food systems, political systems, storytelling, and more than I thought I would ever know about sustainable seafood labeling (not all master’s theses are equally riveting). But seriously, if you have any questions about seafood-related supply chains, sustainability labels or consumer guides, I dream about that stuff. I would also welcome any and all article ideas or hot tips about untold local food tales. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org or, more likely, drooling over new arrivals in the cheese case. These are exciting times ahead. I’m looking forward to being the voice behind the good news yet to come.
Now fill out that survey! (Seriously, it’s important. And, you could win a hefty gift card!)