Paula Crossfield and Naomi Starkman met in 2008 when Alice Waters brought them together to work on Slow Food Nation in San Francisco. The pair created a blog, recruiting voices from around the country to write about the power of good food. The site garnered more than a million visitors. In January 2009 they decided to keep it going under a new name, Civil Eats.
For the next five years they published the prize-winning blog without pay—neither for themselves, nor their 300-plus contributors. To compensate writers and hire a managing editor, they turned to Kickstarter in fall 2013 to raise $100,000.
“Everybody thought we were crazy,” Starkman says. “It got worse when it was hovering at $30,000 two weeks in,” Crossfield adds. But by the final hour, more than 1,100 backers pushed them $892 past their goal, the most money raised by crowdfunding to date by any daily news site. This year, they were awarded the James Beard award for publication of the year. Here they share how they did it.