In 2014, at the birthplace of Good Grit Magazine, we came out of the gates breaking the “rules.” Truth be told, back then we broke them because we didn’t know them. In our beginning, we set out with a mission to tell damn good stories of people and places and organizations that inspired us to keep going. And here we are 8 plus years later—so much has changed, but the storytelling and the mission is still the same.
This issue is themed Harvest, and this year the harvest we are celebrating as a team is more rule breaking—but this time we are doing it from a place of wisdom. We are retiring the position “Editor in Chief.” Clearly we aren’t suggesting the industry follow suit, as I’m sure they may not agree with our reasoning—and hell, they may not agree how we do many things—but for us, Good Grit is a full collaboration with our whole team. This doesn’t happen because one person's vision is cast, or one person finds all the stories and chooses an angle. This happens because as a TEAM we are excited about the content.
Our whole team discovers stories that will inspire readers—to lean into their own hard journeys and keep going, to travel somewhere new (or maybe somewhere old and learn something new), and to believe in a changemaker most people don’t know is making the world better, or to become a changemaker themselves.
So, this issue Laura and I are saying farewell to the position we never really liked anyway. It’s funny, in the beginning we both had the same reaction. “Ummm, are we allowed to do this? Claim this title if we’ve never done this before—Editor in Chief?”
That trepidation is normal in life when you are blazing a new trail, or trying to redefine culture just a bit—right? The thing that was true even in our hesitation then is still true now: we love a good story. We love digging a little deeper. We love creating space for voices to be heard. We love sitting at a table and believing it’s always big enough to pull up another chair. And that’s why we are doing this—we want you to know this magazine is curated by many hands, many hearts, many brains, and many people willing to extend their gifts to us so we can share them with you.
In this issue, Leslie Jordan is on our cover, and let me tell you, talk about a giving guy who always has an extra seat at his table!? We are so excited to share his Chattanooga with you, from his favorite places to eat to the organizations he supports. Pieces of Chattanooga like Cempa Community Care, a health center that started by creating a safe, healing environment for members of the LGBTQ struggling with HIV and AIDS. Leslie has been supporting their journey for a long time, as they’ve grown into a full community health center. We are so proud to come alongside him to support them with this issue. And stay tuned—we’ve got more Leslie coming outside of these pages. You can check out our Instagram for teasers!
This issue is packed with notable stories—a James Beard nominated meat and three chef braving through the pandemic, a guide for checking in on your children’s mental health, and of course the southern outdoor spaces worth exploring.
Harvest is a time to celebrate the seeds that were planted a season ago. So what are you celebrating this season? We know, that like us, you could be mourning too—but we can do both you know? We can hold the pain and disappointment. We can mourn and celebrate in this season together.
In every issue from now on, this page will be dedicated to our team—giving you as our GG family an idea of what it sounded like at the table as these ideas came to life: the WHY behind the stories, and how we hope they inspire you. We hope your table is as fun and loud and inclusive as our table. And if it isn’t—you can always come sit with us.