How We’re Working on Making Our Community Stronger

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Last fall, I wrote about wanting to make our community stronger. Community is what this site was built on, and even as Food52 has expanded (both our team and our focus), our commitment to you has never wavered.

Our community has grown too, so while it was once very easy and organic to maintain connections with you, at well over 1 million strong we needed to start making more of a concerted effort to maintain community connections. We’ve been busy in the past few months—here’s what we’ve been up to, and in case you missed that first post, here’s how you can get involved now:

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Photo by James Ransom

A couple things you might have missed

We expanded a beloved community tradition

Did you know that every year Food52ers send cookies and other homemade gifts to each other? It’s our Holiday Swap, and our sixth-annual was our largest ever. With 626 community members from 14 countries participating, we literally sent cookies around the world. And we also raised over $10,000 for The Edible Schoolyard Project.

Amanda & Merrill turned to you for advice

Our co-founders, Amanda and Merrill acknowledged that there’s a lot that divides us, but are encouraged by the fact that we’ve always been able to find common ground around the table—it’s the area where we all believe Food52 can make a difference. They asked for ideas to help strengthen the ties we share, and over 1000 of you responded.

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How to get involved now

Help us increase diversity

When Amanda and Merrill asked for your input on how we could do a better job of bringing people together around food, one of the themes that came up frequently in response was a call for us to cover a broader range of topics—as well as a desire to see more diversity within our team. Amanda and Merrill addressed our lack of diversity as well as what we’re working on to change that.

Join us in giving back

We’ve made donations to a variety of different causes over the years, but we haven’t been particularly strategic in our focus for charitable giving. This came up regularly in the feedback to Amanda and Merrill’s call for suggestions, and in response we announced a plan to more clearly define our approach to charitable giving, and asked you to vote for the charity we’ll be supporting this year. Based on your votes, this year we’ll be supporting No Kid Hungry—we’ll keep you posted on how you can join us in this effort through various upcoming initiatives like product collaborations, a community-wide bake sale, and other events like the Holiday Swap.

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Enter our new & improved recipe contests

We redefined our contests in order to give more of a pedestal to the cooks and their recipes, in doing so, we made the decision to reduce the number of contests. If you’re ready to participate right now, there’s still a little bit of time to enter Your Best Recipe with a Smarty Pants Trick or Technique—move fast, submissions close tonight. Not to worry if you don’t have a recipe for the current contest though, we’ve gone ahead and announced the contest themes for the rest of the year—this way everyone has more time for testing, perfecting, and uploading lots of recipes for contest consideration.

Plus, we’re not waiting for contests to feature community recipes! Reducing the number of contests has allowed us to do more single recipe posts to feature Community Picks on a regular basis (check out the topic page for Heirloom Recipes to find them). We are looking for them (and testing and photographing) weekly, but you can always tell us about ones you think are great too! Email your suggestions to [email protected]

Share your stories

We’ve been working to feature more of your stories, too—like MrsWheelbarrow’s downsized kitchen (with a pantry to die for) and aargersi’s covetable single-use tool collection—and will continue to do so.

As mentioned above, we’re always looking for recipes that tell part of your or your family’s story (fill us in on where it comes from and what it means to you) and we’ve often had community members teach us how to make their favorite Not Recipes, too. Want to share yours? Send your pitch on either of these topics (or something else entirely—with an explanation of why it would be a good fit) to [email protected]

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Join our cookbook clubs

We wanted to create a space for our community to come together, get to know each other a little better, and interact in a way that isn’t always possible on the site, so we’ve created two Facebook clubs to meet and share about a mutual interest: cookbooks. There, we explore a new book together every month—and learn from one another in the process.

Here’s how you get in on the action: Find us on Facebook and join our original Cookbook Club or our newly-launched Baking Club—better yet, both! There’s still loads of time to explore this month’s member-selected cookbooks. So pick up Julia Turshen’s Small Victories and Uri Scheft’s Breaking Breads and start cooking. (Or, for the full run-down on how to get involved and more about the Clubs’ backstory, head here.)

We look forward to getting to know you a little bit better through these initiatives and if you have other ideas for strengthening our community, please share them in the comments.

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