The first time I heard of Driftwood Magazine was a little over a year ago, when the team started rolling out their social media profiles, with the blurb “travel and culture for the graduated vegan.” Over the following months, they started releasing more information that would lead up to a successful subscription drive on Kickstarter, and just recently, the first issue.
Driftwood creator Holly Feral set out to create a publication that, as the tagline says, goes beyond veganism 101, with quality stories, design, and printing to match. This isn’t a magazine that your friends put together in 3 weeks then printed and bound at Kinko’s. Driftwood spent over a year building a solid foundation of quality content, partners, advertisers, subscribers, and campaigns, including the Vegan Faces project. Much of their funding came from their Kickstarter subscription drive (more “magazine pre-order” than “here’s a shoutout on YouTube for $45”).
Like many people these days, I get most of my news online and subscribe to just a few magazines each year (though, like any magazine now, Driftwood offers both print and digital subscriptions). After my various newsfeeds are inundated with “top 10” listicles each day, it’s refreshing to pick up a magazine and find a collection of well-planned stories, guides, and conversations.
The stories in Driftwood represent a variety of topics tied together by the editorial layout and thoughtful, narrative writing. The first issue contains articles like “Bounties of the Danube: Eating your way through Budapest,” artist features, a vegan perspective of rural South Korea, and a profile on world-famous graphic novelist Nicole J. Georges. I, along with many others, are grateful for the amount of mindfulness, care, and precision with which the Driftwood team is approaching the magazine. The only numbered list you’ll find in this issue is about packing essentials for a Nepalese excursion. If you’re looking for lists of egg replacers or factory farm facts, look elsewhere.
I was lucky enough to play a role in Driftwood’s first issue. Managing Editor (and Vida Vegan Con organizer extraordinaire, author of Vegtastic Voyage) Michele Truty and I teamed up for a story on Upton’s Naturals here in Chicago. While seitan is great and all, Michele took the focus off the food and put it on the hows, whys, and whats of Upton’s, and the people behind it all. Michele did the interviewing and the writing, I provided the photography, and we both encouraged the dogs to strike a pose.
The preliminary form of Upton’s started 10 years ago, and now exists as a three-story building in Chicago that was built from the ground up to house the seitan factory, Upton’s Breakroom the restaurant, and a living space for president and VP, Dan Staackmann and Nicole Sopko. While based in Chicago, Upton’s is available across the U.S. and is becoming global with the release of the new jackfruit products.
For more of this story, and a whole lot more, grab the first issue of Driftwood.
Driftwood has created something that previously did not exist, and can’t be reproduced with some adept Googling. For everyone who’s graduated from reading about the health benefits of tofu or the best places to eat in Portland, pick up a copy.
Thank you, Driftwood for creating a resource, a collection of quality writing and imagery, a travel guide, and a piece that can hold its own on coffee tables around the world.