Hello, my name is Shannon Douglas and I write, photograph, develop recipes for and publish Honest Magazine. I live and work in the Pacific Northwest in a little mountain town about 35 miles east of Seattle.
For the last six years I've worked as a commercial food, travel and lifestyle photographer shooting cookbooks, campaigns and stories for companies like Cherry Bombe Magazine, Eater.com and The Mountaineers Books. While in school for photography, I was drawn to telling stories through food and a certain kind of slow-paced lifestyle. The ideas in my head were so specific, I began making all of the food I photographed and scouring local thrift stores for affordable props to create the story I pined for.
Looking for a way to show magazine editors and book publishers my new skills, I decided to put together a magazine to demonstrate my images and practice shooting to layouts and themes. I gathered a few favorite recipes, wrote some fruitful headnotes and displayed my images alongside. This was over five years ago now. In the post it went and soon I received positive feedback from publishers. I decided to open the magazine to the public and interest grew. Today, the magazine is printed and mailed in it's vibrant, permanent form to readership in four continents and makes a sturdy sound when it's dropped on a coffee table. Honest Magazine has been featured in newspapers, gift guides and an international culinary fair.
So themes run throughout the issues across the years. The foraging and arranging of flowers (particularly wild varieties), are a continuous subject of the magazine and the lifestyle behind it. Gathering knee-high fennel fronds on the side of the road, picking through Queen Anne's Lace, and pulling together a vignette of meadow wildflowers in the summer. Introduction to varieties, information on care and how to arrange a wild-hearted bouquet dot the issues.
Foraging is an ancient and universal practice, a practical skill and a beautiful way to connect to nature. Groves of wild watercress call for delicate salads, peppery licorice fern sends notes of anise and black cap raspberries sing a rich, jammy song. Wherever we may be, so too are an abundance of treasures hidden in plain sight. Wild versions of common plants and herbs and varieties popular with native peoples. There is so much to learn and so much room for creativity in foraging when practiced responsibly.
Growing something nurtures a connection to the earth like no other. Nursing a seed into fruitful bounty restores our connection to our food source, reminds us of our self reliance and teaches us all a thousand lessons. Gardens are wondrously inspiring places individual to each of us and offer so much room for customization. Weather you want to landscape a native plant garden, home to pollinators and a sanctuary space for hummingbirds, or fill a greenhouse with terra cotta pots of overflowing herbs gone to flower, issues explore the harvest of fruit trees, tending of vegetable beds, trellising of beans and peas and weave the connection between native plants, food sources and beauty.
Foraging, collecting edible flowers, gardening and cooking go hand in hand and come together full circle at the table. Kneading a spring harvest of nettles into pasta dough and sprinkling fragrant flowering thyme over top combine nature, beauty and skill into one nourishing celebration. Food is a universal connection with as many endless paths as blackberry vines and, gone about in a sensible manner, will nourish soul and body alike.