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Call for Essays on the Food Supply Chain

The Miracle of Feeding Cities (a working, unofficial title, abbr. as MFC) is a new digital and potentially print magazine that will explore the food supply chain that brings milk to bodegas in New York City, chorizo to the street stalls of Buenos Aires and chickpeas to London for Lebanese falafel.

We’re interested in the food supply chain that moves food, especially commodities such as flour, meat, sugar, and meat to cities around the world. Our “zine” will dig into the global logistics system that is at the same time both intensely technical and intensely human. With an overabundance of food in some regions and the dearth of nutritious food in others, we feel that the opportunity to find solutions for feeding the world in the future lies in the system that distributes food. A better understanding of this topic will also advance our understanding of how we can reduce food waste.

We’re looking for writers who can create short, insightful pieces for the online magazine. These pieces are intended to introduce food logistics to the general public through an engaging and entertaining style.

Zine Departments

What’s Happening Now? Five-hundred words that would cover the latest events, ideas, happenings. You may include a review of news stories about food logistics, drawing out trends, questions, connecting dots, offering insights. For example, how does the current dockworker dispute in Long Beach impact the delivery of meat and fruit through a major shipping port?

The Lexicon of Food Movement: The language of food distribution is specific to the world of “food logistics.” This topic is a ~ 500 word description of an important term. For example: TEU – A 20-foot equivalent unit used to describe the capacity of a shipping container. Context of the term in a current food logistics event should accompany the definition.

People and Places: What is the importance of a particular person or place in feeding a city? Places could be a dock, market, auction house, lab, warehouse or factory. You might think of a person that delivers food, builds pallets, loads shipping containers, devises policy or runs a bodega.

Questions to consider in a description of a person or place: What does this person like about their job? What is most challenging for a person or place? How do storage vaults, mega-warehouses, pallet loaders fit into our food distribution system? How does a person or technology adapt in the constantly adaptive logistics system? How is the distribution of food special within the global logistics system that also transports non-food items like TVs and automobiles? (500 to 1,000 words).

Recipes/Map Your Plate: Submit a recipe in which the geographic origin, mode of transport and location in which you purchased/obtained each ingredient is identified. Please include your sources with this submission.

The Last Mile Gallery (photo/video submission): The “Last Mile” is a term that refers to the last mile food must move to reach its final destination. It is often the most logistically challenging part of a food item’s odyssey.We are interested in the visual documentation of this difficult point in the urban food supply chain: people delivering food, unloading trucks, packing pallets, dock workers engaged in shipping food, airport logistics personnel unloading seafood from Japan, bodega owners etc.

You may email photographs or submit them via Instagram. To submit them on Instagram, include our handle: @Feeding_Cities and the hashtags #feedingcities and #lastmile in your caption.

Contact, Submission & Payment Info:

We will publish these short pieces on our current blog ( with the intention that they will evolve into the larger digital and print magazine scheduled for late 2015.

Please submit your stories as a .doc or .docx to Hannah Walters, Editor, Submissions should include a title, short teaser and captions for any and all photos included.

We pay for all submissions. Payment is scaled to the complexity and quality of the content.