TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. — Edible Finger Lakes, a magazine that highlights local “farms, vineyards, culinary artisans, chefs and home cooks, farmers’ markets, food shops, country inns, restaurants and cafes” across the Finger Lakes 14 counties, is asking for the regions help to keep publishing.
Founded in 2008, the magazine publishes six times a year and is distributed at businesses across the region. The publication, which only has one full-time employee in Welch, and relies on a team of freelance writers, photographers, illustrators and designers to put together those six annual issues. Edible Finger Lakes is based in Trumansburg.
The publication is largely funded through advertising of those same local eateries, farms and producers that have been hardest hit as COVID-19 has taken a toll globally. As Edible has found advertising revenue scarce, as well as its primary mode of distribution cut off, as most businesses remain closed, Michael Welch, publisher and editor in chief of Edible Finger Lakes, has had to adapt Edible’s business model to meet the changing times.
“The mission of Edible Finger Lakes has always been to connect people to their food sources through stories and to celebrate the abundance of our local agriculture and the food and beverage scene. That mission has become more important with all the recent instability and uncertainty. People want to support local, small businesses and they want to know how to do that,” Welch told The Ithaca Voice. “So we hope that our stories will introduce our readers to the Finger Lakes farmers, the winemakers, the chefs and others whose products are high-quality. 85% of our readers say they buy things that they read about in the magazine, so that’s a huge economic impact for the Finger Lakes and we need to keep going.”
In a letter to readers last week, Welch asked the community for help. The magazine has set a goal of securing 3,000 subscriptions to help finance printing and distribution of the issue they were working on at the beginning of March. The subscription drive will also be helping raise money for Foodlink, Foodbank of Central NY and Foodbank of the Southern Tier — with 10% of new subscriptions being donated to those organizations. Subscribers also get digital access to an e-cookbook that includes recipes from local chefs and producers.
Welch says recent events have highlighted how important those organizations are to the wider community and that stepping up Edible’s support for those organizations just seemed like the right thing to do.
“We should have been making that donation all along, really. We have always discounted advertising for the food banks and other non-profits but we could have done more. The food banks in our region play such a crucial role in food access and nutrition education,” said Welch. “I felt that if we were going to ask people to give us money during these difficult financial times, we should squeeze as much out of our profits as we could to help others in need. And the demand on the food banks has increased exponentially in the past month. I can’t wait to start writing checks to help out.”
For more information, visit the Edible Finger Lakes website, here.