41st Earth Day and Bay Weekly’s 18th Birthday

If you’re a mechanic, you open a garage. If you’re a cook, you open a restaurant. If you’re a horsewoman, you open a stable. If you’re newspaper people, you open a newspaper.
    You do what you know. That’s why we — husband Bill Lambrecht, son J. Alex Knoll and I — opened New Bay Times, on 1993’s chill, rainy Earth Day.
    Back then, the decision wasn’t so apparent. Bill — whose hardworking parents raised chinchillas on the side — backed into family newspapering after entrepreneurial daydreams of importing pots from Haiti or rugs from Oaxaca, Mexico. Those came after his plan to open a kayak touring outpost on the Bay.
    By then Alex had his master’s in journalism from the University of Illinois and was ending his internship with The Nation magazine. I’d been working in weekly journalism for 15 years. We’d both had a bit of experience with the then-new wonder of desktop publishing.
    Once we settled on newspapering, Bill laid down our law. We had to stand for something, he insisted. Joseph Pulitzer insisted that his newspaper — and, for 33 years now, Bill’s — the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, would “always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news.”
    New Bay Times would stand for Chesapeake Country, we concluded, telling its stories and finding and reporting on ways we Chesapeake citizens could live up to our ideals.
    We would stand for our earth and our water.
    So we’re the kind of people who believe in Earth Day. We take its imperatives so seriously that we chose Earth Day as the release date for our inaugural issue back in 1993. This Earth Day, the 41st, we celebrate our 18th birthday.
    In this birthday issue, we stand with our feet in the water and our hands dirty from digging in the earth. Our theme is getting to the local roots of your food.
    This week, we introduce you to the Master Gardener Program, one of our nation and state’s great training grounds for earth-friendly citizens. Then we explain how the new Southern Maryland Meats Programs is making links between sustainably raised meat and meat-eaters.
    As an Earth Day extra, columnist Steve Carr has excerpted his Jansson prize-winning column on wear and tear at our riparian edges, Fear for the Turtle.
    That’s in addition to our regular reports on sustainable gardening from Dr. Francis Gouin, The Bay Gardener; fishing the Bay from Dennis Doyle; the night sky, by J. Alex Knoll; our Creature Features; and reports from the advancing frontline of sustainable living.
    There’s more to come. In our 19th growing season, we’ll be celebrating Mother Earth with an ongoing series on local food, local farmers and the whole business of local food production.
    As Margaret Tearman writes in this week’s lead story: “Truth can be found in a garden, alongside the radishes.”
    Our birthday wish is that you find your way to dig in.