The word “community” gets thrown around a lot, but it can be a murky thing. Gone are the days when most of us knew all of the neighbors on our streets; at the same time, we stay virtually connected with hundreds of “friends” whom we may not know at all beyond their Facebook or Twitter feeds.
Still, there is a true sense of community in the Monterey Bay area and we’re deeply grateful for it.
As we write this letter, the Soberanes Fire has burned more than 76,000 acres of our region, including the homes and farms of some beloved members of our local food community. While devastating, the fire has also shown our community’s remarkable impulse to help when others are in need. At a benefit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium—which drew 2,800 people on just one week’s notice—we spoke to a firefighter from Southern California who told us our community’s outpouring of support was the best she’d ever seen. It’s no surprise that food people were at the forefront of this awesome support!
We would never wish for more fires like this, but we’ve noticed that it has made our community even stronger. Neighbors have begun talking more than ever, social media channels have been flooded with help and information, and benefits like the one at the aquarium have both raised dollars and brought the community together physically.
Our most profound hope when we started this magazine five years ago was that we would be able to help nurture our local food community. We recognized that the people who live here tend to share a passion for food, whether it be growing it, catching it, cooking it or simply enjoying it. But food lovers were not so connected to one another, especially across various parts of the bay.
Perhaps most importantly, the farmers, chefs and other purveyors who were seeking to offer food that not only tastes delicious but also nourishes the body and does not harm the planet needed a way to reach a supportive public. We wanted to step in and champion those local heroes in particular.
We can’t believe it’s been five years already—this issue marks our fifth anniversary!—but if the amount of delicious, healthy food out there and the strong sense of connection so many of our area’s residents feel with our local food community are any indication, we think we’ve had a lot of success.
Our work is far from done, however, so we want to thank our staff, contributors, readers and especially the many wonderful advertisers who stand by our side in this mission. Without their support, both in print and online, Edible Monterey Bay literally would not exist. So we hope that now more than ever, you’ll take note of their ads and use our Local Source Guide and Dine Local Guide to seek them out. They deserve your thanks for being the terrific community supporters that they are—day in and day out, fire or no fire.
Sarah Wood and Rob Fisher