The best moment during my preparations to attend the International Food Blogger Conference last year happened when a package filled with sleek black boxes arrived. Each one came wrapped with a slip of card stock that had a clever phrase printed on it, “Quick, schedule a meeting! Your business cards have arrived.”
I’d splurged. No need to practice my food photography skills, I thought, if all I could offer in the way of business cards were business card-ish printouts cut from standard paper that crumpled in my purse and spotted in the rain.
Still. Those puppies were pricey, and so was the overall cost of the weekend. Driving to the hotel from my mom’s house in Portland, I chastised myself in a panic for spending the money. Why hadn’t I gone to a writing conference instead? Would my once-a-week posts from a not-big city in the Northwest about things like mushrooms matter to anyone but me?
I hadn’t read through the sessions list before I arrived or done much more than scan the list of attendees. But here I was, lunching with food bloggers before the keynote speech, small talking about plane rides and post topics, sliding my card across the table in exchange for theirs. Soon my black box was filling up with new cards. It was like Twitter, live!
Swapping cards over the weekend, I met a food poet, a first-time author and a farm school graduate. The blogger I sat next to at lunch is a dietitian as well as a good friend to someone I know from my college days (Facebook, live!).
The more people I met, the more impressed I became with the net capacity for accomplishment and generosity among the participants and presenters. An accomplished food photographer gave me a tip as I was trying to capture an image of beautiful food in terrible conference room lighting. An acclaimed cookbook author walked us through her proposal and spent extra time with me afterward. I covered eight pages with notes from the food writing instructor‘s session. I met a local salt vendor who knew an entrepreneur from the city where I live. A successful blogger took time to brainstorm with me about my site.
The world is small at a conference. Small and kind.
In a roomful of professional humans, everyone has something to sell. But everyone is also in a receptive frame of mind. We’re all there because we want to listen and talk and brainstorm and figure out the ISO setting on our cameras. To do that, no one needs showy cards or a published cookbook. (Though I did re-order cards and I have jotted down my share of possible book titles.)
the food poet
I Ate Seattle
Cooking Up a Story
Veg Girl RD
Biscuits of Today
Shiksa in the Kitchen
Margaritas in the Rain
Talk of Tomatoes (card with cherry tomatoes )
Nicolesy (card with luscious blackberries)
This post is the first in a series, an agreement between bloggers attending the International Food Blogger Conference and the sponsors of the event, Foodista and Zephyr Adventures. In exchange for a reduced conference fee, each participant agrees to write three posts about the conference. I’ve determined the content of these posts and have received no compensation for product mentions or links.