When the Edible Communities publications won the 2011 James Beard Publication of the Year award, I was thrilled that the group of regional food magazines that highlight local and sustainable foods and their producers earned such a top award. The James Beard Awards are what those in the food industry often refer to as the Academy Awards of the food world. Even being nominated for one, as the saying goes, is an honor.

The 2014 James Beard Media Awards ceremony was held over the weekend, and this year, the Civil Eats blog won Publication of the Year. You may recall that it was just last fall that the blog’s co-founders Naomi Starkman and Paula Crossfield (pictured above with their James Beard awards) engaged in a Kickstarter campaign for Civil Eats to raise money so they could pay themselves and their writers. Readers and supporters of the blog donated $100,000 to their efforts. Since 2009, the blog had been a labor of love. The fact that the writing on the site was so excellent when everyone involved was a volunteer speaks to the dedication that Starkman, Crossfield and everyone else involved with Civil Eats have to improving our food system.

I rely on Civil Eats for their news and analysis about sustainable agriculture and food systems, and I’m really pleased the James Beard Foundation chose a media outlet that champions sustainability in our food system as this year's winner. If you aren’t reading Civil Eats regularly, I encourage you to do so.

This is part of what the foundation had to say about Civil Eats in the award’s program.

In judging its Publication of the Year, the Journalism Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation recognizes a publication that demonstrates fresh direction, worthy ambition, and a forward-looking approach to food journalism. Civil Eats, through its declared passion for “promoting critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems,” practices the kind of thorough and fair journalism that helps us make sense of the increasingly complex matter of getting food to our tables.
Congratulations, Civil Eats! You deserve this award.

You can see the entire list of the 2014 James Beard Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Award winners on the organization’s website. Here are just a few of the other awards that might interest you.

  • Lucky Peach magazine took home five awards in the journalism category, including one for Humor and one for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. I’ve let my subscription lapse, I think I may have to renew it.
  • The book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss won for Writing and Literature. The book introduced most of us to the term “bliss spot,” the sensation we get when the the sugar and salt levels a food are scientifically manipulated so that our brains crave it. (Think Cheetos.)
  • The YouTube program called Thirsty For… won for the award for Video Webcast, Fixed Locationand/or Instructional. I checked out their YouTube channel. They post a new beverage recipe video each week that’s set to music. I love it! I have the instructional video for Rabarbar z Miodem (Polish Rhubarb Drink) bookmarked to make very soon.

Also on MNN

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Civil Eats wins 2014 James Beard Publication of the Year
The blog that promotes critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems wins a top award in food journalism.