2022 Excellence in Newsletters, Portfolio finalist

Cooked: The search for sustainable eats

About the Project

Climate change is an overwhelming, global problem, but many New Englanders are looking for ways they can combat climate change here, where they live. And there is something we do every day that can move the needle: we eat. WBUR’s latest newsletter, “Cooked: the search for sustainable eats” aims to be a public service that not only helps readers better understand the New England food system, but also gives them real steps to reduce their “foodprint” and become community leaders.

WBUR’s environmental correspondent Barbara Moran talked to farmers and cooks, butchers and vegans, scientists and shellfish experts — anyone who could help her understand how our food choices affect the environment — to come up with this automated newsletter course (an innovative way to inform readers and share new skills, disciplines and lifestyles on their own time table). We think it’s this combination of audience-first thinking paired with excellent reporting, reader empowerment, an equitable lens and WBUR’s regional expertise that makes “Cooked” stand out among the many other newsletters hitting readers’ inboxes.

How it works: Once someone signs up, they get two emails per week for three weeks filled with analysis, advice, tips, recipes and more for making choices that work for you, the planet and an equitable society. The newsletter covers everything from defining “local,” veganism and food waste, to examining our food philosophy through the lens of the indigenous food movement. It dives into these complex topics through original WBUR reporting, as well as commissioned research from grad students at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition. This project was conceived to be evergreen and remain relevant, collecting subscribers for years.

We leveraged the entire WBUR newsroom, using the newsletter as a framework for the original reporting (text, audio and visuals) and created additional digital content to amplify the journalism and cross promote to different digital audiences. The reporting can be found on as text and digital audio, heard on air, remixed across social platforms, applied via interactive quizzes or experienced in-person at events. All of this paired with stunning, highly localized still photography. In addition, we curated other local sustainability content from our New England News Collaborative for our audiences.