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Meet Katie Stokes of Edible San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Stokes.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I learned one morning a couple years ago that Edible San Diego was for sale, I got what I call “that feeling” when I just know that something important and good is happening. There is clarity and an expansive feeling that enables me to see new possibility.

This had happened before; when as a young girl I first met the horse who would become mine, when an elective course in college turned into my major (geography,) when I ventured alone to Costa Rica for a year, finding homes that I adored, and so on. I founded what is now called the Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido (ten years of extraordinary learning and community) and later led a schools foundation there. You get to know yourself better as you move through life if you work at it. My son sums it up saying that I love projects—and I do!

As an avid reader of Edible San Diego for as long as it’s been in print, 10 years to be exact, I immediately recognized an opportunity that fit me just right: my Southern California background with an ethnically diverse family, my travels, my fascination with farming, gardening and the natural world, my region-wide appreciation of San Diego County as a long-time resident of Escondido, recent experiences that highlight the importance of exercise, diet and self care, my concerns about our globalizing economy and lifestyle, and more.

Suddenly I felt like my entire life’s experience had led me there, to that moment when I could take on a cause and a platform that unites all of us: Living a healthier, richer, more connected life. What could be more important?

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It became immediately clear to me two years ago that Edible San Diego needed to diversify, and so now we are in the midst of a big transformation as we add a robust digital program to our beloved print platform (please visit us online!) and also an initiative to form dynamic community partnerships. This three-part business model is our way to evolve quickly in order to serve both our readers and our advertisers better than ever before.

The costs of doing business in San Diego are high, and the world of media has completely changed since Edible Communities first came to be more than 15 years ago. Still, readers of over 70 Edible magazines across North America flout the idea that print is dead. On the contrary, Edible magazines offer a quality respite and contrast from a fast-paced, commercial world.

A few of the Edibles have a nonprofit structure, and others sell the magazines. Our free distribution of the magazine means that all our revenues must come from advertising sales and other sources such as subscriptions and events. As you might guess, the cost of printing is relatively high in today’s world, so we are seeking a new sweet spot to serve a region of three million people with our unique mix of print, digital and partnerships.

We know that our advertisers and prospective partners operate in the same expensive milieu as us, so our challenge is to offer an array of valuable products and services that help them thrive. We think a lot about how all of us seek and find information nowadays so that Edible San Diego can be as convenient as it is inspiring and thought-provoking.

We view the relatively large size and diversity of San Diego County as both a challenge and an opportunity as we seek to reflect the voices, perspectives, and interests of the entire region. It’s like having a big family; open arms, an open heart and an open mind.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Edible San Diego – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Edible San Diego has been a magazine for ten years. Under my leadership we have added digital and community partnership programs that are just as robust as our gorgeous, beloved print platform because of the changing ways we all access information and live our lives.

There’s absolutely an educational component to our mission, as well as an aesthetic appreciation of food traditions and trends. We share recipes and information about gardening and other DIY resources. “Wellness” is a mega-trend across all sectors of our lifestyle and economy in the US, and our brand focuses on it every day. The old adage about “you are what you eat” has never been more true, but now we are connected as much to a global market as we are to our local food system.

Most importantly, the Edible brand is all about local. In our case, we have the privilege of exploring all of San Diego County, a region rich in the uniquely appealing lifestyle choices that typify this locale. By local, we mean a way of thinking that is sensitive to both location and relationships. Getting to know the farmer, the fisherman, or the brewer down the street from you really changes how you feel about what you put in your body and how things work in our food system. Ask about sourcing where you shop and eat out.

Patronize locally-owned businesses. These calls to action are a large part of why we, and each Edible, exist.

Edible San Diego’s specialty is being a source of information and inspiration on living well in San Diego County, from everyday steps towards health and awareness to finding your new favorite restaurant or coffee shop. This is an especially rewarding undertaking in a place where we are blessed with the freshest, tastiest things to eat and drink and some of the most fabulous and creative food artisans and producers I’ve met anywhere. There are many paths to living a healthy life, and we explore and present them all with objectivity to help our readers find the path that is best for them.

In these tumultuous times for media, every day we fight the good fight. We make high-integrity editorial and develop empowering business relationships. The producers, artisans, nonprofits, government offices, activists, children, and visitors of San Diego County serve as our motivation, our subject matter, and our partners in this undertaking.

I am so proud of this magazine, and I honor the two couples that took it from an idea to a beloved magazine through its first ten years. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to direct the vision for Edible San Diego’s next chapter.

I learned in my community work, more than 20 years ago, that the magic that underpins a successful project, whether it’s your company or anything else, is creating a team passionately unified around a cause, in which people feel free to contribute and grow.

The new Edible San Diego team that is coming together now is talented, visionary and bursting with all the energy we need during this time of transition.

This company is growing and changing. We are creating a new Edible San Diego that is as diverse (cosmopolitan and rural,) dynamic, and authentic as San Diego County. We have great material to work with because we see our mission as not just pretty or profitable but compelling and indeed, essential. We have the ingredients to succeed: important stories to tell, talented team members, and extraordinary business partners. The result? A company that enriches your life as none other can.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We will continue to invest in our digital and community partnerships, offering more value to our partners in ways that help them build their organizations. Our website and social media channels will continue to evolve to offer an increasingly wide variety of stories to make it easy for San Diego County residents and visitors to access content that inspires them on a daily basis. This year and next we will experiment with some new event models that offer compelling experiences that connect and excite our community.

So as we culminate Edible San Diego’s 10th Anniversary year, the magazine’s final two issues of 2018 will be special editions (get yours while you can or better yet, subscribe!) In January 2019 we will debut a full redesign of the magazine with a fresh and engaging look expresses the mission and heritage of our brand in new ways.

I am excited to work with a broadening group of creative writers, photographers, illustrators, and experts from all walks of life. The inclusion of many voices will help Edible San Diego connect with our increasingly diverse readership of residents and visitors as we evolve to serve you.


  • On the Edible San Diego website, a one-year subscription costs only $33.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Olivia Hayo

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