Jill Melton of Edible Nashville

How Food Magazines Can Create Community

Jill Melton, editor and founder of Edible Nashville for the past five years, has created a magazine designed to help folks get back in the kitchen, eat better, eat more sustainably and make the world a better place. Jill knows her way around a magazine having spent fifteen years with Cooking Light magazine, bringing it from infancy to a household name, and most recently, Relish magazine, which she launched and grew to one of the largest food magazines in the country read by over 16 million folks.  Edible Nashville is Nashville’s favorite food publication.

What should we know about Jill?

Jill says publishing a local food magazine has married three of her loves – public health (she started out at a dietician), cooking and publishing. Her love of food and community has made her magazine important to Nashville by bringing together farmers, consumers, chefs, restaurants and food suppliers.

What does a food magazine about people mean?

In Jill’s creative mind, food is all about stories of people who grow it, cook it and consume it. She loves to tell the stories of food from the viewpoint of the people behind the food. Food is the common element to all our celebrations, our social connections, and how we live daily. So food is ultimately about people. Sometimes the story is about your grandmother’s recipe for peach crisp and sometimes it is about what a chef eats for breakfast.

Why did Jill choose a local publication for this part of her career?

After a long career in national publications, Jill realized that publications were servants to advertisers. National publications have an obligation to serve their advertisers in a different way than local publications. A local publication is closer to your consumers, and your editorial becomes more relevant and actionable to your consumers. And, local publications are actually where the growth is today.

What is a magazine in today’s world?

Edible Nashville is a free printed magazine available at many area locations, and is available by paid subscription.  But printed magazines like Edible Nashville have a much larger footprint these days.  They are a printed publication, an online site, a weekly newsletter, active social media sites and event producer. While Edible Nashville is still cherished and collected by readers, it is also valued for its online properties and for amazing events like the farm dinners in interesting locations with meals produced by local chefs and food purveyors. A recent dinner was located in a creek with wonderful food, local beer and spirits, and acoustic music. And guests get to experience farms and new friends they would not have had access to before.

How has Nashville’s rise in popularity influenced Edible Nashville?

As Nashville has grown as a tourist destination, accomplished chefs have moved into our community. And as they brought new restaurants, they embraced the local food movement here. It was a perfect time for Edible Nashville, shining a spotlight on farmers, local food, seasonality and how to cook local. Both chefs and farmers have benefited from the magazine. Edible Nashville focuses on approachable recipes and ways to cook fresh affordable local foods.

How did Edible Nashville help restaurants during the start of the COVID-19 shutdown?

Edible Nashville created lists of restaurants and food sources that were open for delivery and pick-up, and posted them regularly on Instagram, providing a real public service to restaurants and thousands of people in Middle Tennessee.

What has publishing a local magazine taught Jill?

There is such a gratification of putting magazines on a rack and meeting your readers. It’s such a needed service to connect the food growers and providers with restaurants and consumers. It’s building community.

Resources and Links

Edible Nashville website

Edible Nashville Events website

@EdibleNash on and Instagram and Twitter

@EdibleNashville on Facebook

Jill Melton on  LinkedIn