Share Our Strength – as Caring People, as well as Bloggers

Most of the time, I have a clear topic to blog about – a location, a recipe, and event, etc. And other times, a topic doesn’t become clear until enough pieces of the puzzle come together. This post falls under the latter.

In the past week, I received emails from two fellow bloggers about events that they will be part of in conjunction with Share Our Strength. If you’re not familiar with this organization, their mission is simply to end childhood hunger in America. It’s not so simple to do, mind you, and they have a number of events during the year to raise money and awareness of the situation.

Next weekend, Share Our Strength will be having the Great American Bake Sale in locations throughout the country. On the 17th, A Full Plate Cafe in Philadelphia will be participating in this event, and E from Foodaphilia sent me an email regarding how food bloggers in the area can participate:

“If you can, the organizers of the Bake Sale and I would love to have you donate a baked good or treat to the Sale. Additionally, if you have the time and desire to blog about the item you donate to the Sale that would be great. The more people who know about the sale and come out to purchase our cookies and treats, the more money we can raise for children who have scarce access to healthy and nutritious food.”

On the 26th, Taste of the Nation Princeton will take place at The Westin Princeton. The event is $85 per person, if you buy in advance, and $95 at the door. A slew of restaurants in the Princeton area will be participating. Mrs. Mo’s New Jersey contacted me to get the word out about this event. Considering the places that are participating (elements, Eno Terra, Rocky Hill Inn, Tre Piani, The Frog and The Peach), I don’t think I need to do too much arm-twisting to get people interested.

The reason I put these two events together is not only because they are both Share Our Strength events, but they also highlight the strength that we in the food blogging community have when we work together. I was just reading the interview that Joe Roberts (UnoVinoDude-o) did for A Long Pour, and Joe said something that touched me because I agree with him 100%, and I think it applies to food bloggers as well as wine bloggers:

“Blogging in general is really exciting because it’s shifting power, building community, and invigorating voices in the field at various levels of expertise, all at a lightning-quick pace. That’s true for wine as well – things are getting shaken up, and we don’t yet know where the pieces will land, but there’s a sense that we are in a period of significant change in the industry in terms of how wine consumers and enthusiasts get their information, and that’s exciting if you like change (I love change so I’m really excited, probably to the point where it pisses people off!).”

“I think there’s a lot of room left for improvement, of course. Personally, I’m a big fan of letting anybody blog for any reason, but it means that consumers don’t have any clear way of navigating the field of 1,000+ wine blogs to find the content and voice(s) most relevant to them. Ensuring that we have a sense of community, where we can help to improve each other’s work and also continually improve the things that can help highlight the best (awards, etc.), is important I think.”

“I also agree with Tom Johnson, who in a recent Palate Press article (I edited it) argued that wine bloggers aren’t reaching enough of the potential wine consumers and enthusiasts out there. We need to do a better job of that as well, which means not only strengthening our own community, but looking at what’s working in other blogging communities and borrowing from their successful methods where we can.”

“Far and away the biggest thing that concerns me with wine blogs is that sense of community, and whether or not we can all get over ourselves enough that we don’t become voices in silos. We already have, I think, some bloggers who consider themselves gatekeepers into wine blogging, and we must realize that NO gatekeepers exist in blogging, period. That mentality is simply not compatible with the future of blogging in my view.”

I take the concept of a ‘blogging community’ very much to heart. Blogging is not a competition, because no one person or blog has the monopoly on good topics to discuss. We would never place ourselves in the position of being THE authority on food in South Jersey; there are too many other voices out there that also have value and merit and are a pleasure to hear. We like being part of the conversation, and maybe even start the conversation sometimes. When we can applaud, encourage and help other bloggers, we raise the level of blogging overall.

And when I receive emails like the ones I got from E and Mrs Mo, it reminded me again why I love this community of like-minded food enthusiasts. We can take our love for food and put those efforts towards a higher purpose. Giving of oneself to help another is about as high a purpose as one can serve…and if you can enjoy the food as well while you serve, all the better.


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