Please allow me to be the first to congratulate you on your very own Edible! I know you’ve waited a long time for this magazine to arrive, and I am honored to be the one to bring it to my home town after spending a decade away. I’m happy to be back.
Many things have changed since I’ve been gone. Milwaukee has become the kind of city that garners national attention for its efforts to promote local food. No longer are we only a town of cheese, sausage, and beer (although we still do these VERY well). We are now known for our cocktails and distilling, as well as coffee and artisanal chocolate – just to name a few. Since I’ve been gone, Milwaukee has learned to feed itself from the inside, with aquaponics systems and urban gardens. We have restaurants and small producers that, through their commitment and hard work, are able to grow their operations to open a second location, or hire more workers.
Milwaukee has become the kind of city that garners national attention for its efforts to promote local food.
These successes show the economic viability of sustainable practices. Whether the effort was galvanized by citizens, like the Milwaukee Food Council, or conceptualized and spearheaded by city leaders, like HOME GR/OWN, Milwaukee is showing its hardworking spirit with initiatives that really contribute to the long-term sustainability of our home.
When it was time to choose a first cover for our inaugural issue, we wracked our brains. What one image would do justice to Milwaukee’s food scene? There are so many different faces, so many different places, all contributing to local food’s forward momentum – that to choose just one would be leaving out so many others. Finally, it clicked.
There is a poster I know. I don’t know how I know it. I don’t know where I know it from. I think most natives in this city feel the same way. Whether you’ve seen it half ripped off the wall at the Milwaukee Public Museum, or hanging at Wisconsin Cheese Mart, or maybe you have it in your office – most folks know it.
“Milwaukee Feeds and Supplies the World” is an iconic poster from 1901, so ubiquitous in Milwaukee that I have yet to meet a person from here who doesn’t know it. Back then, Milwaukee was at the center of manufacturing in the United States. Now, Milwaukee is at the center of so many efforts in the realm of food and sustainability. Once we had settled on this image, we couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to convey to our readers the old, but what about the new? So we’ve taken “The Goddess and the Globe” and modernized it, juxtaposing Wisconsin’s historical foods with the ones just beginning to gain notoriety. The result is a poster we instinctually know in form and in color, which pulls you inside of the magazine to learn more about the new food elements we’ve covered. Then we also asked Milwaukee’s foremost historian, John Gurda, to provide insight into the meaning behind the original.
I would like to first thank Will Workman, my friend of ten years, for all the work and heart he’s put into the magazine alongside me, and for his immediate commitment to coordinate the editorial side of our magazine. Will can find a story anywhere, and in Milwaukee, he didn’t ever have far to look.
Next, I’d like to thank our editorial advisory panel: Arthur Ircink, Justin Johnson, Lori Fredrich, Martha Davis Kipcak, Sabina Magyar, Tarik Moody, Venice Williams, and Young Kim. When we asked them to help navigate the landscape here in the city, none of these food advocates hesitated to share their expertise and experience, along with valuable connections to the greater community. Our editorial advisory panel has already helped us define goals for our publication: to take advantage of our position within a national network of magazines to act as a megaphone, amplifying Milwaukee’s achievements to food fans locally and nationwide; to present Milwaukee as a city at the forefront of integrating sustainable principles (economic, environmental, and social) into everyday life, and to recognize the city’s significant contributions to food-related initiatives; to highlight the unique cultural makeup of the city and to pay homage to each group’s contribution to Milwaukee’s landscape; and to honor Milwaukee’s historical food traditions, whether they are in the past or being revitalized by new producers today.
Milwaukee is a city with deep roots, yet there is now also a sense of new vitality that comes from progressive collaboration. Our panelists help us to steer this ship, and their diversity is what we strive to reflect in the pages of our magazine.
I’d also like to acknowledge our contributors, who tell Milwaukee’s stories in different voices, in written form and in the form of photographs and illustrations.
Thanks, in particular, to Lori and Paul Fredrich of #MKE Foodies, who have been our friends and tireless advocates since the very beginning. These two are pillars of the food community, and their events are some of the best at highlighting great local food in this town. Along with Lori and Paul, we’d also like to recognize our new friends Nell Benton and Thi Cao, co-founders of the chef-driven group, Milwaukee – Food for Thought. These two groups have come together to spearhead an Edible Milwaukee Launch Party and Friendraiser, happening on May 18th from 7-10 p.m. at Great Lakes Distillery.
And a final big thank you to our community partners, whose help has been critical to our launch.
The wonderful support we’ve seen from our advertisers confirms that they are an integral part of a community that truly cares about the vitality and growth of local and regional food networks.
Together, we are making Milwaukee a great place to eat – and to call home.
Yours in local food,
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Edible Milwaukee