Reminiscing with Sarah & Chelsea
When planning for the future, it is useful to look back to see how things have grown and changed.
Sharing stories is such a lovely part of Fare & Flourish, and we wanted to take the time to share some of our stories with you. This past month, we spent time planning the next few months of content, and thinking about how Fare & Flourish has grown since we launched the website last year. Many things have changed, but our intentions have remained the same. We hope you enjoy reading about how we came up with the name, what our favourite bloopers are, and what we envision for the future.
How long did it take to launch F&F?
Chelsea: We first started talking about Fare & Flourish in the summer of 2013. At that point we didn’t have a name, just a vague vision of a food blog that explored the environmental impact and medicinal components of food. We were both in naturopathic medical school at the time, so progress was really slow, but it was also a source of joy and creativity during a stressful time. It is humorous to look back at our early photographs, they have a distinctly moody aesthetic, which gives some insight into how we were feeling at the time. After a lot of work and some last minute panicking, Fare & Flourish was launched on May 30, 2019.
10 years ago, could you have imagined starting a food blog?
Sarah: Definitely not! I had just finished my undergraduate degree, and while I was interested in food, food production and the environment, my cooking skills were limited. I don’t think I could have imagined creating a food blog: writing articles, creating recipes, and taking photos. It wasn’t until the years following, that my love for cooking and photography was born. Food happened to be at the intersection of my passions for health, sustainability, community and cooking. It has taken me years to know how I wanted to contribute to the discussion surrounding food, and to find the confidence to share this online.
Chelsea: No. I was in my last year of university, and while I was learning more about food, nutrition, and cooking, I really never envisioned sharing those interests with a platform. Especially an online platform. I am not technologically savvy, even less so 10 years ago, and I would have been intimidated about sharing anything that I wrote in such a public way. In addition, I wasn’t aware of food blogs at that time, and following along with the recipes and stories from websites like Food52, David Lebovitz, and Green Kitchen Stories have been such a huge source of inspiration throughout this process.
What makes F&F unique?
Sarah : Fare & Flourish is a food blog that truly honours the complexity of food, and is not afraid to explore it through various lenses: sustainability, community, nutrition and health. I think that Fare & Flourish is uniquely positioned to talk about food as medicine, and aims to inspire individuals to be creative in the kitchen and cook a nourishing meal.
As naturopathic doctors, we wanted our content to be evidence-based, and as such, our articles are well researched and referenced. Each month we have a new theme, where we discuss a different topic, and provide related recipes.
With Fare & Flourish we are trying to strike a balance between being informative, inspiring and thought-provoking. We want to provide more than just recipes; we want to create community, spark discussion, and inspire change.
What do you like about working with each other?
Chelsea: Sarah and I have been sharing meals since we became friends, and Fare & Flourish is really an extension of some of the conversations we have around the dinner table or over coffee. Sarah is the photographer behind all of the gorgeous food images, and we have so much fun cooking, styling, and photographing all of the recipes. She is fun, intelligent, excited about food, and always willing to have the challenging conversations about food systems. I appreciate Sarah’s curiosity, and her willingness to take the time and effort required to fully understand something, especially with complex topics like the environmental impact of food. There has been a sense of ease while building Fare & Flourish, and I think that comes from how well we work together.
Sarah: It’s been a wonderful journey starting this food blog with Chelsea. What started as a creative outlet, an opportunity to cook together and discuss the intricacies of food, has grown into a project that continues to inspire and challenge us. Working with Chelsea feels effortless; she’s a mastermind in the kitchen, a foodie at heart, and an artistic soul. I appreciate Chelsea’s ability to think critically about different food topics, her creativity with recipes, her passion for botanical medicine and her tireless efforts to build community and connection. I think that the ability to build Fare & Flourish can be largely attributed to our teamwork, and that our strengths compliment each other.
Sarah: There have been a handful of times where we’ve had an artistic vision, and the execution did not go as planned. One of our first “failed photo shoots” occurred when we were trying to take photos of beef bones that were used in a bone broth. I had recently seen some beautiful black and white photos of meat, and I wanted to emulate the contrast, lighting and texture captured in these images. The photos we took were comically terrible, and will forever be referred to as the “meat pyramid” images. As with any photography, sometimes the image in your head does not match the end product. Chelsea and I have always had the ability to laugh about it, and take it in stride.
Chelsea: I think there are blooper photos and moments from all of our photoshoots, but there are two that really stick out to me. A few weeks before the official launch, Sarah, Stephen, Nathan, and I got together so that Nathan could take our portraits for the website. Sarah and I thought it would be cute (probably the first red flag) to get a photo of Sarah casually tossing me a lemon. What followed was at least an hours worth of failed lemon toss photos, and some bruises. None of the photos were cute, but they were all hilarious. Another time, Sarah and I were making a smoothie, and photographing the process. I was pouring almond milk in the blender, and Sarah directed me to hold the measuring cup higher so that it would be out of frame. I did, but totally lost perspective and ended up pouring the almond milk over the front of the blender while Sarah caught the whole thing on camera.
Given this idea was formed in 2013, how has it changed overtime?
Sarah: Since 2013 there have been multiple iterations of the outline for Fare & Flourish. We always knew that we wanted to explore the multiple aspects of food: health, sustainability, and community. We just didn’t know how we wanted to present our thoughts, research, and how to cultivate inspiration.
Originally we envisioned Fare & Flourish as a website that provided information primarily through food profiles. We wanted the website to act as a database, which enabled users to compare foods. We quickly realized this was too big of a task. Food is complex, and the various characteristics of a food could not easily be summarized in a two-page profile. We were limited by the lack of research in certain areas, and overwhelmed by the complexity and quantity of research in other areas.
We also recognized the importance of having a narrative, cultivating community, and providing inspiration through recipes. We don’t have all the answers, but we want Fare & Flourish to be a space that initiates discussion, and provides nourishing, creative recipes.
How did you come up with the name, “Fare & Flourish”?
Chelsea: We definitely underestimated the challenge of coming up with a name and finding an available domain. We spent a lot of time determining our values so that they would be reflected in our name, and found an article on Hatch & Scribe that walked us through things to consider when choosing a food blog name. After many names that I am glad didn’t stick – we were stuck on the word, “spoon,” for a while (ex. Four Spoons Full, The Informed Spoon, Heart & Spoon, Seed & Spoon, and eerily, The Last Spoonful) – we finally landed on Fare & Flourish in 2015 and bought the domain. We felt that it captured the spirit of the website, and encapsulated the idea of using food as medicine.
How do you come up with content ideas?
Sarah: It never seems to be a problem to come up with ideas, topics or recipes we would like to explore. We’re often over ambitious with the quantity of content we want to post. To create continuity, we pick a theme for each month, which directs the focus of our articles, stories and recipes. We’d love to hear what you’d like to learn more about!
What has been surprising or unexpected?
Chelsea: The weeks and months leading up to actually launching the website were incredibly busy. It seemed like every day we realized a new heading we had to write, or a photo we needed to take. Thankfully, we got a lot of support from Stephen and Nathan. Stephen built the whole website, made it beautiful, and created our logo. Nathan took all of our portraits, and indulged our need for lemon toss photos.
While we should know by now, the time it takes to research, write, edit, cook, and take photos for articles and recipes is continuously unexpected. We always have to adjust our schedule to be more realistic, but I think we are just so excited to share that we get ahead of ourselves. Especially because we get so much positive feedback about F&F. Even though connecting with people and having them engage with our content is the point, we are still pleasantly surprised when people send us photos of our recipes that they made, or interact with our social media, or sign up for our newsletter. Connecting with local people through community profiles is one of our favourite parts of F&F, and we are looking forward to growing this part of the website.
How do you envision F&F growing and changing?
Chelsea: In some ways, it is difficult to know which direction F&F will take, because we have allowed it to grow and change so much since 2013. As we learn new things, or become inspired, we let that guide what we write, cook, and photograph. With that said, we plan to focus more on meeting people in the food community and sharing their stories on our website. We love introducing you to the lovely people we have come to know, and are excited to continue growing the F&F community.
Sarah: Fare & Flourish is still in its infancy. I think that Chelsea and I will continue to focus on researched and referenced articles, discuss the multiple facets of food, produce inspiring recipes, and connect to the food community in Victoria. I’m excited to see where we go, and how the food blog will change over the next year.
Favourite recipe on the blog?
Chelsea: I love trying new recipes and flavours, so was intrigued and delighted by the cherry blossom fermented honey. It is truly lovely, so make sure to pick some blossoms this Spring, and make this recipe! In my own kitchen, I often make variations on a vegetable bowl, and I really love the dukkah roasted chickpeas with green tahini dressing recipe.
Sarah: I was definitely most surprised by the fermented honey recipe. I had never fermented honey before, and I enjoyed utilizing local blossoms and the fabulous flavor it produced. I also love the blueberry, almond and coconut cake, and the roasted vegetable & tofu bowl with almond butter sauce.
COVID-19 has illuminated many of the existing problems in our society, including food insecurity. We wanted to learn more about who is most affected, and discuss why these conversations are necessary, especially in the health and wellness world.
Ariel and Jess Reyes Barton are the creators of Palenke Greens, which is a burlap sack gardening initiative aimed at assisting people of African descent facing food insecurity. Not only do they provide all of the supplies to create a burlap sack garden, they also help to install it, and have exciting ideas for the future.
Nathan Smith is the photographer behind most of the portraits on Fare & Flourish, and many other interesting photo projects besides. We are so grateful to be able to showcase his beautiful visions on our website.