Fifty years ago, Carl B. Stokes, America’s first black mayor of a major metropolitan city, set into motion a national movement toward environmental protection as a result of the latest fire to strike the Cuyahoga River, which occurred on June 22, 1969. Stokes’s efforts sparked the kind of change that is as vital today as it was then in protecting the health of all people, the natural world, the food we eat, and the water we drink.
Looking back on the 50th anniversary of our infamous burning river, we’re grateful that people were paying attention—and that a few of them cared enough—to set us on a different course. All across Northeast Ohio, there are many conservation efforts to be celebrated, including those that originated with Mayor Stokes, whose son recalls his father’s courageous ways in this Conserve-themed issue.
In this issue, we also explore the resurgence of the native Ohio brook trout population. Once thought to be extinct, this fish’s future hinges on the meticulous and largely unseen work of naturalists and biologists who are committed to its protection. And while cherry orchards are fewer in number than in generations past, they endure in our region as the result of hard work by local farmers who are passionate about preserving our region’s stone fruit-growing heritage.
We all have the potential to create ripples of impact that are enduring—sometimes with grand gestures and, at other times, through small, quiet sacrifices. We hope that the stories in this issue remind you that actions matter and that we all have the capacity to ignite change.
Seven years ago, Noelle Celeste and Jon Benedict acted on their shared enthusiasm and interest in local food by founding Edible Cleveland, which has told countless stories of people aiming to make our community, and the larger world, a better place. It is my honor to continue their legacy as I step into the role of publisher with the support and leadership of new owners Gordon Priemer and Eric Diamond, who oversee Central Kitchen, a Cleveland-based craft food hub and incubator. Our longtime staff share my excitement and gratitude, along with a universe of committed people who, like me, are inspired by the stories within the pages of each and every issue.
Thanks for being here.
Lisa Sands, Publisher