Grist acquires The Counter and launches food and agriculture vertical

Grist, an award-winning, nonprofit media organization dedicated to highlighting climate solutions and uncovering environmental injustices, has acquired the nonprofit news site The Counter. Launched in 2015, The Counter investigated the forces shaping how and what America eats, and ceased publication in May 2022 due to a funding shortfall.

As part of the acquisition, Grist will maintain The Counter’s archives and will take ownership of the organization’s brand assets. Grist will carry on a large portion of The Counter’s mission by continuing to investigate “the forces shaping how and what America eats” and how those forces intersect with climate and the environment. To that end, today we’re launching a food and agriculture vertical, which includes two new hires.

Ayurella Horn-Muller joined Grist in April as a food and agriculture staff writer. She is an award-winning journalist based in Florida who has covered climate, justice, and food for Axios and Climate Central, and who has freelance bylines for The Guardian, CNN, National Geographic, USA Today, Forbes, and on NPR and PBS NewsHour. She is also the author of the book Devoured: The Extraordinary Story of Kudzu, the Vine That Ate the South, which was published in March.

Frida Garza will also join Grist as a food and ag staff writer. She was the editor of The Guardian US’s environmental justice series, America’s Dirty Divide, and also wrote stories on the culture of food in North America. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Jezebel, covering culture and politics. A native of El Paso, Texas, she recently finished a master’s in labor studies and is based in Brooklyn, New York. Garza starts on May 15.

Grist already has a decadeslong track record covering the intersection of food, agriculture, and climate. Most recently, freelancer Julia O’Malley was named a finalist for the James Beard Media Awards for her Grist story (in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network) on Alaska’s missing snow crabs, and former Grist fellow Max Graham won this year’s Alaska Press Club Award for best long feature for his salmon coverage. But the acquisition of The Counter represents a significant expansion of the news site’s coverage of this critical beat.

“Food is a unique entry point through which to enter the climate conversation — and it’s one that everyone around the world can easily grasp,” said Nikhil Swaminathan, Grist’s CEO. “We were great admirers of The Counter’s work, and when the opportunity came to breathe new life into a brand we held in such high regard, we jumped. This new vertical will allow Grist to very clearly frame coverage of climate as what it literally is: a kitchen table issue.” 

“Nothing could be more gratifying than to see a publication of the caliber of Grist both committing itself to sustain public access to the award-winning archive of The Counter, and dedicating its energies and significant resources to relaunching and invigorating its approach to food journalism,” said Jeffrey Kittay, The Counter’s founder and publisher.

“As temperatures rise, global warming’s impacts on food security, agricultural economies, labor justice, and food culture are coming into sharp relief,” said Grist executive editor Katherine Bagley. “And unlike many climate risks, these changes are deeply personal, from the rising cost of your weekly grocery bill to disruptions in cultural traditions around food.” 

To mark the moment, Grist has curated a downloadable cookbook filled with climate-friendly recipes from our archives, as well as from partners Cool Beans and Pale Blue Tart. The cookbook has everything from entrees to sides and desserts.

In addition to the new vertical, Grist is honored to ensure the outstanding work done by The Counter staff remains accessible to the public. And it’s not the first time Grist has taken on that responsibility: In 2020, Grist acquired Pacific Standard and continues to house its archives.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Grist acquires The Counter and launches food and agriculture vertical on May 14, 2024.