It’s hard to believe it, but the Austin Food Blogger Alliance is over one year old since it was first conceived. A group of local Austin food bloggers had gotten to know one another during 2009 and 2010 — mostly thanks to our use of Twitter, and to the restaurants and PR firms that invited us to events where we got to know one another. We felt that it was important to start a group that would support each other, and our community, in a somewhat organized way.
In mid-November, 2010, Natanya Anderson, Jodi Bart, Addie Broyles, Michelle Cheng, Adam Holzband, Mando Rayo, Kristi Willis, and Marshall Wright first met in a semi-formal way to discuss the idea.
In January and February 2011, a larger group met to cement the many details involved in starting this group including the name, logo, website, bylaws, membership guidelines, roles, etc. Natanya Anderson, Jodi Bart, Addie Broyles, Jennie Chen, Michelle Cheng, Adam Holzband, Rachelle King, Mike Krell, Rebecca Otis, Mariam Parker, Mando Rayo, Kristi Willis, Kristina Wolter, and Marshall Wright attended at least one of these meetings.
Our goal was to launch in March before SXSW, where a group of us had begun the tradition of writing a group of blog posts that became the “Austin City Guide” to offer restaurant recommendations to SXSW-goers.
On March 27, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance Facebook page launched.
On March 29, we hosted an informational happy hour to recruit members at Takoba. Close to 100 people attended, including the founding AFBA board members: Natanya Anderson, Jodi Bart, Addie Broyles, Jennie Chen, Michelle Cheng, Rachelle King, Mike Krell, Rebecca Otis, Mariam Parker, Kristi Willis, and Kristina Wolter .
On March 30, we posted the code of ethics, application form, and a FAQ. At this point, we had our board members, made up of volunteers, and our advisory board, made up of people we respected in the food community.
By April 7, AFBA had 80 total members.
April 20 was the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas event kicking off the SNAP recipe blogging project. A total of 19 members participated by providing recipes and publicizing the program on their blogs.
May 15 was a Farmer’s Market Potluck Lunch social event.
By June 7, AFBA had 101 members.
June 9, we launched our blog (note: any member can submit an idea for a post).
On July 30, we held a Pie-luck contest and pie social. Each pie was judged by a panel of experts, and Michael Chu’s pecan pie was the winner.
On August 21, AFBA teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse to show the movie Waitress, and hold a pie sale benefitting SafePlace, that helped raise over $2,000 for the non-profit.
On Sept. 21, we created a members-only AFBA membership group on Facebook as a place for non-public, non-promotional discussions between members.
On Oct. 9, AFBA held a hands-on food photography workshop.
On Nov. 11, the AFBA membership list was posted on our website.
On Dec. 2, bios on our current board of directors was posted to the web. This includes Natanya Anderson (President), Kathryn Hutchison (Vice President), Rachelle King (Treasurer), Michelle Cheng (Secretary), Jodi Bart (Communications), Addie Broyles (Advisory Council), Jennie Chen (Education), Michelle Fandrich (Philanthropy), Mike Krell (Technology), Megan Myers (Membership), and Rebecca Otis (Social).
On Dec. 11, we held our Winter Social and White Elephant Kitchen Gadget Swap.
On Dec. 21, we began collecting a list of AFBA members who would like to be part of our official Volunteer Corps.
As of this writing on Jan. 1, there are 123 members according to our online blog roll.
We have many plans for AFBA in 2012, including a volunteer event at the Capital Area Food Bank on Feb. 9, 2012. We’re so grateful to every board member, member, and volunteer in this special group. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch with one or more of our board members. Our programming and content is really only as good as our volunteers.
-Jodi Bart, Tasty Touring