Noted journalist and blogger Tom Philpott’s “Victual Reality” column explores complex intersection of politics, agribusiness, and modern food culture; Writer Roz Cummins adds seasonal recipes
SEATTLE—Grist, the world’s leading source of daily news and opinion on the environment, today announced that it has launched two weekly food columns, adding a critical new layer of culinary content to the website’s growing menu of sustainability-focused coverage.
Victual Reality, a new column by North Carolina-based journalist, blogger, and farmer Tom Philpott, explores a broad range of topics related to the economics and politics of the modern food industry, from big agri-business to small-scale organic farming. The column appears every Wednesday. In addition, Philpott will contribute regularly to the Gristmill blog with provocative commentaries and opinion pieces focused on the media’s ever-expanding coverage of food and food culture.
Grist is also adding a weekly recipe column by Roz Cummins, a Boston-based food writer who will share seasonal recipes and essays on healthy cooking.
“With these new columns, Grist will examine society’s complex relationship to food—from production to distribution to consumption—in ways no other news outlet has done,” said Grist founder Chip Giller. “By drawing connections between popular culture and topics traditionally considered the exclusive, clubby domain of ‘hard-core’ environmentalists, we hope to make sustainability accessible to a wider audience.”
Food-related TV shows, magazines, websites, and blogs have enjoyed broad popularity in recent years, yet few news outlets dedicate significant attention to the economics and politics of the global food chain. Grist will help readers carefully consider the sourcing of food, how it is grown, packaged, shipped, marketed, sold, and consumed. The new content is an important step in Grist’s plans to expand its lifestyle coverage as a whole.
Columnist Philpott is an experienced business journalist who covered Wall Street for years and wrote a daily stock market column for Reuters before leaving New York to establish a 2.5-acre vegetable farm and sustainable-agriculture nonprofit in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. In 2005 he founded a popular food-politics blog called Bitter Greens Journal. As a writer for Grist, his opinions and commentaries will reach an even wider audience.
“My goal is to use Grist and the Victual Reality column to champion small-scale, sustainable farming in a market dominated by huge retailers and agribusiness giants,” Philpott said. “I write about food as someone who gets his hands in the dirt every day—a rare perspective. Using the skills I developed as a business reporter, I want to shine a light on the truths and implications of U.S. food policy in a style that is both honest and informative.”
The nonprofit, independent, online magazine Grist was founded in April 1999, and over the past seven years has developed the most recognizable voice in environmental journalism: funny, opinionated, and intelligent. Grist offers in-depth reporting, opinions, cartoons, book reviews, advice, and a popular blog—all tailored to inform, entertain, provoke, and encourage its readers to think creatively about environmental problems and solutions.
Each month, Grist reaches nearly 700,000 unique individuals through its website and emails, and it has enjoyed particular success among readers in their 20s and 30s. Through syndication arrangements with other media outlets like MSNBC.com and Salon.com, Grist is reaching an even broader audience that extends into the millions. Grist has been featured in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Newsweek, and dozens of other national publications. Grist earned Webby™ People’s Voice awards in both 2005 and 2006 as the internet’s best magazine.