Two weeks ago, I attended the BlogHer Food Conference in San Francisco — yes, it’s what it sounds like: female food bloggers getting together to discuss writing about food on the web. But it was much more than that. For me, it was a chance to be inspired by the work that amazing women (and some men too) are doing, and a time to reflect on my own blog and its meaning to me and to others.
The events were really fun, but more important to me were several people there who had a great impact on me — people who are blogging with a higher goal in mind and who are effecting change in their communities. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce some of them to you!
Mrs Q. of Fed Up With Lunch – I really got to spend some quality time with the anonymous Mrs. Q who is eating school lunch every day with her students at the elementary school where she is a teacher, and documenting it with photos and commentary. She had no idea when she embarked on this project that it would garner so much attention, even from Jamie Oliver, the Food Revolution guy himself! Mrs. Q is a down-to-earth, humble, personable and well-meaning person who I hope you get to meet someday (when she reveals her real identity!) And no, I don’t know her real name.
Diana from Dianasaur Dishes — this woman makes you go “wow.” After living on a dollar a day herself in hard times, she learned that she could eat well rather than survive on cheap fast food. Now she teaches others how to do it. As she said at the conference, “Being poor doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly.” I didn’t spend time with her other than a brief introduction, but I really valued her insights when she was a speaker on a panel.
Michelle Stern of What’s Cooking — Michelle is teaching kids to cook healthy food, and to give back to the community and the world! I am proud to live in the same area as this inspiring woman — she’s the reason that my daughter’s elementary school now has a salad bar for kids that buy school lunch (many of these kids are the ones who so need this healthy option!) I look forward to spending more time with Michelle in the future.
Naomi Starkman of Civil Eats — This is a really smart woman who is really committed to getting people to think critically about our food system. She led the Food Policy panel that I attended, and I learned that I have a lot to learn… but at least I have her website as a resource.
Maria from Nature’s Path Foods — Okay, she’s not a blogger, but she ROCKS! She works in marketing for Nature’s Path because she believes in the ideals of the company. My favorite line of hers in one of the sessions I attended was something like, “It’s time we held the food companies accountable for their actions… who’s with me?” I’m with you Maria! In recent months I have been thinking about how shocking it is that food companies can produce what they produce and actually allow people to eat it! So, yes Maria, I’m totally with you.
Jeffrey Strain of The Penny Experiment — I don’t how many people got to meet Jeffrey, but I happened to sit by him on the shuttle to the after party. Humbly and quietly, he told me about the amazing goal he has set out to achieve with his “Penny Experiment”: to turn one penny into a million dollars of donated food. He has mastered the ways of coupons and is giving all the food he earns to food banks, and is encouraging others to do the same. He even did a challenge where he showed that one could eat well on $1 per day, being creative with coupons (next he wants to try doing it with organic food he told me). Another creative idea he had was to use pennies as the basis for artists to create a piece that he would sell to raise money to buy food for food banks. I just can’t help but admire what this guy is doing.
And of course, there are the gluten-free gals! Some I had met before and some I met for the first time. There were so many of us that the after party held at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in San Francisco was entirely gluten-free (and delicious)! Boy, did we feel special, and grateful!
Here are the gluten-free bloggers (and a couple of other food allergy bloggers) that I got to meet or reconnect with — each one of them inspires me in some way:
- Stephanie O’Dea of A Year of Crockpotting – Love Stephanie! She is so fun and real. If you can’t find her, just listen for her laugh! hee hee. She has another crockpot book coming out in December (you can pre-order now).
- Ali of Nourishing Meals – Ali is my BlogHer pal for the second year now – I absolutely love her blog, and feel so comfortable hanging out with her. Also, I am currently in love with her maple raspberry scone recipe. She and her husband (he also get the thumbs up!) have a wonderful book called The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.
- Tia of Glugle Gluten Free – Tia is not only a fellow blogger, but she is local to me. She is a rather new blogger and doing a fabulous job!!
- Wendy of Celiacs in the House — I met Wendy for the first time at the conference. We both attended the Food Policy discussion and had very similar points of view. I look forward to getting to know her blog more.
- Diane of The W.H.O.L.E. Gang — I met Diane last year and soon found out that she is the organizer! Thanks to her, reservations are made and blog events are held, including my favorite series of hers called 30 Days to a Food Revolution.
- Shirley of Gluten Free Easily — Shirley is so nice, and she is amazingly thorough in her writing on her blog! I can’t imagine how long she must spend, but I am always in awe!
- Alisa of Go Dairy Free — I finally got to meet Alisa after reading her blog for years. She started this dairy-free blog after discovering that dairy was causing her to be ill. Hers is THE go-to source for dairy-free info!
- Ellen of I Am Gluten Free — I remember talking on the phone to Ellen when she was first diagnosed. It was so cool to meet her after all these years. She’s got lots of recipes, including vegan ones.
- Silvana of Dish Towel Diaries — Silvana was lovely to meet, although I didn’t have much time to talk to her. Her book, Cooking for Isaiah, is full of gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.
- Shauna of Gluten Free Girl — Shauna was a speaker this year and did a fabulous job. Her new cookbook The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef is one you will want on your shelf!
- Helene of My Tartlette — Helene was so nice and introduced herself to me, having no idea that we were both gluten-free. Her story of why she is gluten-free is unlike any I have heard yet, and I hope that she will share her story on Sure Foods Living. Note: Not all of the recipes on her blog are gluten-free.
- Sea of Book of Yum — I met “Sea” last year and didn’t get a chance to talk to her this time, but I am a fan of her blog and her innovative recipes.
- Elana of Elana’s Pantry — It was great to see Elana again, and I just found out she has a new cookbook coming out: Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour! You go, Elana!
- Gaby of Peanut Free Mama — This fellow food allergy mom is so nice and down-to-earth, and her blog is a great resource. We talk peanuts.
- Kim of Cook It Allergy Free — Kim is as sweet as can be, and I am so glad to be introduced to her blog which has enticing recipes and beautiful pictures.
I know I have left some people out. While I got to have great conversations with many people, it was also a whirlwind and I felt like I didn’t have enough time to talk to everyone I wanted to (I also had to miss part of the conference, so there was a lot of time lost). Please let me know in the comments if we met! Thanks to BlogHer for putting on such a great event.