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Austin Food Blogger Alliance: 2011 in Review

3 January 2012 2,925 views No Comment

I wrote this post for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) website, in an effort to create a record of the organization that I’m very proud to have helped found. The timeline doesn’t include the many emails back and forth, hours long meetings, and ups and downs that the founding members and current board members have gone through to get AFBA going; but looking back on all we have accomplished in our very first year, I’m glad I stuck with this group of smart, funny, opinionated, and amazing people. I learn so much from them every day.

afba logo

If you are a food blogger in Austin, I hope you will consider joining the group, and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help answer them! Without further ado, here’s the post!

AFBA IN 2011: A YEAR IN REVIEW

Monday, January 2, 2012

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 8, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance launched with a website, a press release, and a Twitter account.

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.

On April 7, AFBA had accepted a total of 80 members from our first pool of applicants. Everyone who qualified for membership was accepted, of course.

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.

On June 8, we held an education event an Copyright Laws and Blogging at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. That day, we also created a Twitter list of our members.

On 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. 1, the Austin to Boston Food Swap was announced. Almost 30 AFBA members participated. Check out the blog posts about the swap.

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.

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