MODERN FARMER always has a cute animal on the cover. It focusses on farming, food, sustainability. During World Food Day on October 16th, founder and editor Ann Marie Gardner will be in town and speak at the Eat This event. We had some questions for her.
Why did you start the magazine and where are you based? Are you a farmer yourself?
At the time I had the idea for Modern Farmer, I was based near Hudson (I live in Germantown, a smaller town right outside of Hudson, on the Hudson River) - but I was travelling a lot to London and all over the world reporting for Monocle(I was a founding editor there). I'm not a farmer but I'm probably what you'd call a 'Modern Farmer' I care about where my food comes from and want to be a thoughtful consumer, sustainable, energy saving and have a minimum footprint and I really love animals so issues like food waste really get up my nose! I don't see the point of an animal being killed or giving it's life just so we can throw that food away.
The animals on the covers of Modern Farmer almost look human, they are true cover models. How did you come up with this idea?
They really are cover models aren't they? I love the way they really look at you and have attitude! I always wanted to celebrate the animal - and make them the stars of Modern Farmer! Everyone in the industry of course said no, you will never sell a magazine without a person on the cover. I'm happy to say we've proven them wrong!!
Which magazines do you read lately and which ones inspired you?
I love I-D, Dezeen, The Gentlewoman, Appartamento and Fool(from Sweden) and Fantastic Man and I love World of Interiors. I just started reading Porter, a great new fashion mag. And I never miss the New Yorker (although I admit, I'm a few issues behind!). Of course I have been and continue to be inspired by Tyler Brule and Monocle. I'm really looking forward to coming to Holland so I can discover new Dutch design magazines. Do you recommend any?
Frame and Mark are good ones, as well as the independent Works That Work from The Hague.
Do you consider Modern Farmer an independent magazine?
Yes, definitely it's an independent magazine because we are not part of a large publisher. We are doing it all on our own.
What’s the best thing about editing a magazine?
The constant flow of ideas keeps your head sharp and focused. Also, working with a team and creating stories that you can then represent visually. I can't think of a job that could be more fun than this. The creative process, and then what's great about having an online and social media component is you hear from people in real time. You get feedback and have conversations. That's pretty great.