The Food Section is growing

How to help bring more voices into the

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Sometimes when I’m asked to speak about The Food Section, I lapse into the corporate “we.”

At The Food Section, we feature a mix of hard-hitting journalism and engaging storytelling. At The Food Section, we strive to connect readers with meaningful and memorable culinary experiences.

But we here at The Food Section also value truth and transparency, so it’s probably worth noting that “we” has always been me, with the invaluable editing assistance of Steve Fennessy and bookkeeping help from my husband.1

That wasn’t the grand plan. The Food Section was envisioned as a media organization: It was supposed to invigorate rigorous and independent food journalism across the South in part by supporting its practitioners throughout the region. More mundanely, it’s a huge region for any one reporter to cover.

But even freelance correspondents cost money, and The Food Section’s subscription revenue is just enough to keep the lights on and underwrite out-of-town assignments (which I insist on calling assignments, even though we’ve I’ve already established this is a one-person shop.) Putting together this week’s story, for instance, cost $184.74 in travel expenses and government document fees.

Fortunately, The Food Section’s subscriber base is continuing to grow, as you’ll see in a numbers update that I promise to send along before September 15.

That date is significant because it’s the newsletter’s first anniversary. It’s also important because it’s the day on which my Substack Local grant expires, freeing me up to accept sponsorships—and to finally bring other voices into The Food Section’s mix.

Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of The Food Section’s Burgoo Paddlers program, giving sponsors an opportunity to support contributions from food writers representing a range of experiences and perspectives. Once a month, starting in September, The Food Section will publish a reported piece from someone who isn’t me, an endeavor made possible entirely by the Paddlers’ generosity.2

In other words, The Food Section is now open for pitches. You’ll find the writers’ guidelines here, along with a link to a pitch form. We—meaning the newsletter’s sponsors and me—are offering $1000 for a 1200-word story.

As the guidelines say, if you’re concerned about your credentials or feel like you might need some help with reporting tactics, you should still pitch. What’s most important is your unique ability to tell the story you’ve uncovered and recognize why it matters now. I can’t wait to hear what’s on your mind.  

Or perhaps you’d rather write a check than a feature. In that case, The Food Section would love to welcome you aboard as a Burgoo Paddler. You’ll find detailed sponsorship information here.

Finally, if you’re happy with your status as a reader, that works too. We’ve got a great year ahead.

Take care,


If you’re not a paid subscriber, you missed several important stories this week, including an update on the status of Aunt Fanny’s Cabin and an in-depth look at a reported racist attack on a new Gullah-owned restaurant on Daufuskie Island. Please consider upgrading today.


Happy anniversary, Kenny!


About the name: Burgoo is Kentucky’s traditional hodgepodge stew, made in a cast-iron kettle and minded by oar-wielding cooks charged with feeding their communities. While that strikes me as the perfect metaphor for this sponsorship arrangement, my aforementioned husband thinks it’s silly. You may think he’s right.




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