For this edition of our continuing series “Conversations with Green Champions,” Rolland President Philip Rundle speaks with Ivy Life & Style Media, whose niche publications and properties serve Virginia’s Charlottesville-Albemarle region and the nearby wine country.
Jennifer Bryerton, co-publisher of Ivy and editor-in-chief of its Wine & Country Life magazine, talks about publishing in a local market, contributing to a sustainable community, and creating a cookbook that will feed businesses, farmers and people in a time of need
Ivy Life & Style Media is a lively small busines
• Located in Ivy, Virginia, near Charlottesville, with a team of employees who create print and digital publications, provide media services, and run a boutique.
• Publisher of community-oriented magazines and books under three popular brands: CharlottesvilleFamily, Charlottesville Welcome Book and Wine & Country.
• Wine & Country Life, a 150-page magazine published twice a year, covers the lifestyle and culture in Virginia’s beautiful wine country.
Has the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on your business?
Ivy Life & Style Media depends on small businesses, many in the hospitality industry, so lockdowns and the economic slowdown have had a big impact. Since the spring, we have rebuilt our websites, so something good emerged. And, we have gone digital with some titles, short-term, due to the pandemic. For example, CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom! magazine was distributed through grocery stores and schools, but with school closings, we had to go digital.
Do you have a sustainability checklist for the printers that print your publications?
With all suppliers, we look for good employers, for good community members, for businesses that are implementing sustainable practices. The printers we partner with, Lane Press and Panaprint, have sound environmental operations, including the use of soy-based inks, and high-quality standards. For some perspective on the circular economy, Panaprint alone ships about 12 tractor trailer loads of paper trimmings for recycling every week.
All our publications are printed on paper with recycled content. Wine & Country Life magazine’s text pages are printed on Rolland Enviro Satin® made with 100% post-consumer recycled fiber.
Why did you choose Rolland Enviro Satin® for Wine & Country Life?
It is a beautiful product and always gets compliments. Picking up any magazine is a tactile experience, and Wine & Country Life and Wine & Country Weddings in particular has a luxury look and feel — the paper is almost like stationery. One touch and people feel it is special. The print quality makes our content and design work really sing. Perfect for a premium publication that covers wine and cuisine, arts and culture, homes and gardens, and the outdoor life. Lane Press has won multiple Gold Ink, Premier Print and Pine awards for their work with Wine & Country, so our quality is widely recognized.
Did your recent environment-oriented story ‘Bees in the Vineyard’ draw attention?
Response from Wine & Country Life readers has been wonderful. People love learning the back story on a vineyard that is working to save bees, which are so important for regional farms and the environment in general, as native pollinators.
The magazine covers the farm-to-table lifestyle — working and living in a very local way — so that story is quite typical. Other issues have covered environmental subjects like green vineyards, organic food, and elegant sustainable home design.
How will The Wine & Country Table Cookbook feed businesses, farmers and people?
It is a 200-page hardback cookbook with each recipe contributed by a leader in the local farm-to-table movement. We are working on it now and plan to launch in the spring of 2021.
All proceeds will go to the Virginia Fresh Match Program, which works with the Virginia Farmers Market Association to double the purchasing power of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) food stamps used to buy locally-grown food at markets or participating groceries.
Someone shopping with Snap food stamps will go home with twice as much healthy food — fresh, high-quality products — while the local farmers and businesses involved double their sales. The initial print run is 5,000, and we hope to raise a lot of money.
What motivated you to start this community project?
The Wine & Country Table Cookbook will directly benefit local small farmers, farm-to-table businesses, and low-income families who have had such a tough time due to the pandemic. The community and economy will win.
The cookbook will also help draw attention and drive customers to the restaurants, growers and producers that have lost so much business this year. Top chefs are contributing recipes, which will give the cookbook a high profile.
Do you see Ivy Life & Style Media as a green champion, a sustainable business?
We are definitely a champion for the readers and local small businesses that are our heart and soul, honoring them with meaningful content. We are very much about community and living in a way that is close to the land. That includes sourcing food locally, knowing the people who grow, raise or make what you consume, and supporting the local economy. All this is about sustainability, and it is a good way to describe what is happening in our part of Virginia.