BlogHer Food Interviews: Your Brand + Your Causes

BlogHer Original Post

One thing that bloggers do quite well, especially food bloggers, is find ways to include their passions and their causes in their posts. For our BlogHer Food speaker interview this week, I asked the speakers in the Your Brand + Your Causes panel this question:

Would you show us an example post of how you have integrated your causes into your food blog and share a few words about how either readers react or how you got to a point where you felt comfortable and/or compelled to share your cause?

Your Brand + Your Cause
Credit: OnTask.

Julie Gunlock got passionate about more than just pears.

As a blogger who focuses on school feeding programs, I try to point out to readers how the federal government actually makes it harder for kids to get healthy, local food on their lunch trays. In a December 2011 blog post, I explained that USDA regulations were, in some cases, preventing schools from serving local produce. The story -- first reported on NPR -- involved local Oregon pear growers lobbying for a rule change so that local pears (the very pears growing right outside the school) could be served to kids. The reason these pears weren’t allowed? Because the pears weren’t included on the USDA’s list of “approved foods” for school lunches. Unfortunately, the story was reported as a feel-good example about local growers working hard to get fresh and locally grown produce into schools. Fair enough but the far bigger issue was that these pears were banned from schools in the first place because of rules coming from Washington. We hear a lot about the need to improve school lunches but the solution doesn’t lie in Washington. If we want healthier school lunches, we need to give local school districts more control, not centralize school menu planning in Washington.

Christy Horton gave a spectacular example of how she used her blog to participate in a fundraising activity.

The latest opportunity I had to use my blog to further a philanthropic event was The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap that benefited Cookies for Kid’s Cancer sponsored by Love and Oil and The Little Kitchen. I posted my recipe for Grandma's Cowboy Cookies and I sent a dozen cookies to 3 different bloggers across the country and received 3 dozen cookies. The small registration fee of $4 all went to fight cancer along with matching dollars from OXO. I think this is a great model for a fundraising activity. It was fun, it helped all of our blogs get exposure, it attracted some extra dollars from a corporate sponsor, and best of all, it raised money to fight cancer. Several of my blogger friends joined me in the swap as well.

You can follow Christy on Twitter or FacebooK.

Laura Fuentes shows how one idea on a website or blog can spread to other places like Instagram and beyond.

My mission is to help parents make fresh school lunches. In the blog side of MOMables, I provide parents with fresh recipes that support healthy and easy lunch packing. Dinner recipes that will yield leftovers, healthy snacks and helpful how-to tutorials are all part of providing fresh food for kids.

The school lunch menus, are enjoyed by many subscribers who need a little help and appreciate a little organization in the chaotic world of parenting. As a mother of 3 young children, I’d like to see a healthy future for my kids and generations to come.

The #LunchRevolution is a parent-led movement slowly picking up on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest where parents show pictures of their freshly made lunches. Participating in the #LunchRevolution means that they are taking a pledge to pack fresh food for their kids.

Recently, I was offered a weekly column in the Huffington Post to lead the School Lunch Project. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share fresh ideas to a new audience.

You can follow MOMables on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Dresden Shumaker shared a deeply personal story to bring light to a bigger issue.

Almost two years ago I decided to talk openly about what it was like to be on food stamps. I wrote a post called 'Food Stamp Etiquette' so that I could bring compassion into a sensitive subject.

Food stamps are sadly often politicized and I wanted to remind people that hunger isn't about politics. An empty fridge can belong to someone on either side of the aisle. When I realized that I was comfortable freely talking about a subject that is so often a shameful and silent subject I wrote about it as often as I could.

Last year I decided to create a space on my site to spotlight other bloggers that had first hand experience with food insecurity. 'In Times Like These' is a collection of first person posts that begin with my sharing my family's own story of being on public assistance. I wanted to do this so that the people that read my blog either realized they were not alone in their hard times OR so that they could have a face for hunger.

Many times people do not connect with a cause until they know someone that has suffered. Then they become invested.

You can get to know more about Dresden before the conference via Twitter.

Additionally, Shannon Traeger of Feeding America will be moderating this important panel.

The Your Brand + Your Causes panel takes place on Saturday, June 8 from 10:15 to 11:45am. Here's a bit more about what you can expect from these speakers:

How to integrate the issues that matter to you with your blog and your audience without alienating your audience or violating your principles. Understanding how “cause marketing” applies to bloggers, and how to approach your philanthropic interest with a marketer’s mind to do more for the causes you most believe in. Discover advocacy avenues that raise both awareness and funds, including virtual charity drives, blogger councils, the annual Blogger Day of Service, Twitter Chats, and more.

Not registered for BlogHer Food '13 yet? It takes place in Austin, TX on June 7th and 8th this year. Register now!


Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land.


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