Happy new year, everyone! We’ve received some great news to help us ring in the 43rd year of MOTHER EARTH NEWS: Our audience has recently grown 26 percent and is now estimated at about 2.6 million readers. To put that number into perspective, it means one out of every 11 adults in the United States shares your interest in the values represented by MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Feels good to know there are so many of us, doesn’t it? The traffic to our website also grew to more than 2 million visits per month in 2012.
The advisory groups many of you participate in have made a major contribution to this growth. We send surveys via email if you have signed up, allowing you to tell us exactly what you most want to see in the magazine. Roughly once or twice a month, we send a short survey to our Editorial Advisory Group, asking members to rate their interest in a variety of possible article topics. This process has worked so well that we now always survey a topic before deciding on a new article. We also ask participants which potential cover photos they like best. About once a year, we survey the group’s members about their preferences on the magazine’s different sections to see whether we should adjust which topics get the most emphasis.
In addition to the Editorial Advisory Group, we’ve set up a Gardening Advisory Group; Poultry Advisory Group; Mobile Media Advisory Group; and Pastured Meat, Dairy and Certified Organic Produce Group. These groups receive surveys only occasionally, but their feedback helps us produce articles that offer content you can’t find anywhere else. For example, we polled the Gardening Advisory Group about which garden pests gave them the most trouble and which control methods worked best. Thousands of gardeners took the survey, and our software allowed us to sort the answers by region. The result was the article “Organic Pest Control: What Works, What Doesn’t,” along with a helpful chart, “Worst Garden Pests by Region.” To our knowledge, no one has ever collected this kind of firsthand information from so many gardeners across the country. We plan to produce similar stories on other topics in 2013.
For those of you who use mobile devices, join our Mobile Media Advisory Group if you’d like to give feedback on our existing gardening apps (When to Plant, How to Can) and help us develop new apps going forward.
Our newest advisory group is for producers of pastured meat and dairy products and organic crops. Through this group, producers will help us conduct tests demonstrating the nutritional benefits of sustainable food-production systems.
If you aren’t already signed up, we invite you to join our advisory groups. All you need to do is visit our Advisory Groups Center, where you can select which advisory groups you’d like to join.
Another aspect of our growth for 2013: Thanks to two successful MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fairs in 2012, we have added a third Fair in Lawrence, Kan., next fall. Stay tuned for details on the schedule, program and exciting keynote speakers.