Modern Farmer, the farm-glam quarterly that debuted in 2013 and won its first National Magazine Award last year, is no more. According to a report in the Times, it “became a magazine without an editorial staff on Friday, when its remaining paid editors walked out its doors” and plans for the Modern Farmer name are, at the moment, up in the air.*
Unfortunately, the news is not entirely surprising. While the magazine was lauded for its editorial highlights and commitment to reporting, and was welcomed by many people when it first appeared, the more recent headlines focused on the small brand’s financial and administrative turmoil. A large New Yorker profile last fall focused on the rocky relationship between then-editor Ann Marie Gardner and Modern Farmer’s main backer, billionaire Frank Giustra:
The peace held for several weeks, but by the end of October Gardner and Giustra were again disagreeing about how the business should be run. When [asked how to] describe the future of the magazine, she said she wanted to speak to her lawyer. Then she sent […] this sentence: “The relationship between the company and the primary investor remains tense and the company is still looking for long-term financing.”
In December, though, Gardner stepped down as editor. At the time, the magazine released a statement to the Times that said “Mr. Giustra remains committed to the Modern Farmer brand and Ms. Gardner’s vision.” Today’s news would indicate that commitment has run its course.
*The Times revised the wording in the quoted section, which originally stated the magazine “ceased publication.” This post has been updated to reflect that change.