2018 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Micro Newsroom finalist

The New Food Economy


About the Project

The New Food Economy, with an editorial staff of seven reporters and editors, slices through the content silos that have long exemplified food media. There is no food porn in this non-profit newsroom. You won’t learn from us how to roast the perfect chicken. We don’t proclaim the best new restaurant, profile the hottest chef, or celebrate the inflated valuation of Silicon Valley’s latest food-tech investment.

Rather, we cover food inclusively. In a New Food Economy story, food is always the central character in a larger tale about money, power, or politics—often all three.

And we delight in upending journalistic convention, especially the conventions of our beat. We report the news in voice with an analytical eye, humanize policy, and survey the landscape from all sides—conventional and organic, Democrat and Republican, vegan and carnivore, pro-GMO and anti-CRISPR—because our readers want not only to understand food, but also to see themselves and their experiences reflected in the stories we tell.

In 2018, we invited our audience inside the reporting process in new ways, crowdsourcing internet speeds from our readers in farm country for a story that challenged the FCC’s prevailing data on rural broadband coverage. When we published a debunker of the oft-peddled myth about the rise of young and minority farmers, our audience responded—robustly—in support and in opposition. So we brought that electricity to Twitter, where we hosted a live conversation between readers with questions and the two contributors who’d penned the story.

Since launching in November 2015 with a staff of three, our work has been published in partnership with The Atlantic, The Intercept, and The Guardian. We’ve beaten The New York Times and NPR to feature stories by months, all while putting out daily news and commentary that have become must-reads for a diverse group of policymakers, corporate executives, activists, academics, and the food-curious.

In 2017 and 2018, our senior staff writer H. Claire Brown won the New York Press Club’s Nellie Bly award for emerging reporters, and the Newswomen’s Club of New York’s award for best business feature. And our features editor Joe Fassler was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award for his reporting on an Iowa egg producer whose facilities were responsible for a salmonella outbreak that sickened 56,000 people. He was also awarded a Michael Pollan 11th Hour Food and Farming Fellowship. Brown and Fassler are both finalists for 2018 awards from the Association of Food Journalists.

Staff writer Sam Bloch was invited to speak to the California Board of Agriculture about his reporting on rural broadband access. And H. Claire Brown’s reporting on Amazon as a top employer of SNAP recipients was cited by Senator Bernie Sanders, who subsequently planned a visit to an Amazon warehouse. We’ve received tips that our coverage has been circulated everywhere from the New York City Mayor’s office to the White House.

As our staff of seven goes toe-to-toe with legacy newsrooms, NFE is redefining what the future of food media can be.