Jessica Stugelmayer joined AFJ as a member in June 2016. She won a 2017 James Beard Foundation Media "Best Television Segment" Award for her work on "Harvesting Alaska", which includes stories on yak farming and more. We asked Jessica to share the top three reasons she is investing her time and money to attend the 2017 AFJ annual conference in Philadelphia.  

When I am deciding whether or not to attend a conference, I have to justify the hefty price tag of traveling from Alaska. Here’s why I’m going to the AFJ conference in Philadelphia.

Priceless connections - The people you meet at this conference will be the ones you reach out to when visiting a new city or writing about a type of regional cuisine. During a recent trip to San Francisco, a journalist I sat next to at an awards dinner met me for a drink in a great little dive bar and we discussed ways to find funding as independent producers.

Inspiration - Get out of the daily grind and dream up new projects while surrounded by some of the brightest minds in our industry. Anne Lamott wrote that writers spend their days listening, observing, and storing things away. Then we take it home and turn it into gold. (Or at least we try.)

Future collaborations - After you’ve met these amazing people and come up with innovative ideas, you’ll go your separate ways. But weeks, months, maybe even years after the conference, those connections could lead to something more – maybe you start the next big thing like Canal House or invent the successor of the Tasty-style videos.

Early bird rate extended to July 28!

AFJ loves ya. We hate to see good people spend lose an opportunity to save big bucks, so we have extended the early bird registration deadline to Friday, July 28. That doesn't mean you should wait until Friday to register!

The coaching sessions are FILLED, we are now accepting waitlist requests. The walking tours are almost full. Here is the agenda for the conference. Don't wait. Save $75. Register today!


We love early birds

It pays to register early for the 2017 AFJ annual conference. The private tours to landmarks and hidden gems of Philadelphia offer new perspectives of national icons and distinct neighborhoods. Arranged by our Platinum Sponsor Visit Philadelphia, these tours are limited to the first 30-40 people who register. Available spots are going fast. High fives to early birds Gwen Ashley WaltersCynthia ClampittNancy LesonSuzanne LoudermilkSusan NicholsonLaura Reiley,Steve Hoffman and Molly Watson, just a few of the folks who have locked down spots on these tours.

SAVE MONEY, WIN A PRIZE! EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION CLOSES JULY 19 - Hey there, VIP. This conference is going to be amazing because of you. Because email and Twitter can't replace conversations over cheesesteaks and stories shared walking from one distillery to the next. Collaboration is powerful and AFJ facilitates these opportunities at the national conference. Register today  to receive the early bird rate of $375 per person for three days of programs designed to sharpen your skills and kindle your curiosity. This exceptional value includes a discount over the regular registration rate of $450, which goes into effect July 20. Early birds also receive automatic entry in the  Visit Philadelphia  + AFJ giveaway contest that includes a two-night hotel stay and $100 gift certificates to   Starr Restaurants   and  GARCES . Save money and win a prize? Score.  

BRINGING CANAL HOUSE TO YOU - Conference chair Maureen Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer Food Editor, secured Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer as the keynote speakers for this year's conference. The creative geniuses behind Canal House will be available for nine coaching sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 13. These first-come, first-served sessions fill quickly, often taken by our early bird registrants. Only seven coaching sessions are still available. Stay tuned for the summer newsletter feature on why Maureen sought out these media powerhouses for the AFJ conference. Here is the full agenda. Ready to register?

HOTEL INFORMATION - The Loews Philadelphia is our host hotel for the 2017 national conference. Insiders know that this is the place to stay in Philadelphia. The Loews will be home base for conference operations. Our early bird arrival meet and greet will take place Tuesday evening at Bank & Bourbon bar inside the hotel and registration occurs at the Loews Wednesday morning. Buses to offsite tours convene at the hotel. Don't miss the exclusive AFJ discounted rate of $199/night! Click here to register via the conference hotel registration site. A pop-up menu will appear, asking you to select your guest type. Choose "ATTENDEE" and proceed to make your reservation using this dedicated website. See you at the Loews!  

Did we miss something? Email with additional questions. Visit our shiny new website to learn more about the Association of Food Journalists.


As if AFJ needs to provide a good reason to visit Philadelphia.

Conference chair Maureen Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer Food Editor, has created an event that highlights Philadelphia's rich history with iconic tastes of the city's inspired foodscape, abundant with so much more than meaty sandwiches. This year's annual conference includes a panel featuring several of the nation's most lauded chefs and restaurateurs, a private lunch for conference attendees at Stephen Starr's beloved Talula's Garden and a discussion exploring the basics of pathfinding your food journalist career while following your moral compass. Pulitzer Prize-finalist Laura Reiley of Tampa Bay Times will moderate a panel with chefs addressing the realities of operating a Farm to Table restaurant with integrity. Signature events of the annual conference kick off Wednesday evening when we honor Marian Burros, recipient of the 2017 Carol DeMasters Award for Service to Food Journalism, followed by the announcement and presentation of the first-, second- and third-place awards to winners of the 2017 AFJ Awards Competition. The Taste of Philadelphia takes place at the newly-opened Museum of the American Revolution Thursday night. Here is the agenda. Ready to register?

AFJ announces finalists for 2017 AFJ Awards Competition

We are pleased to announce the complete list of finalists in the 2017 AFJ Awards Competition. This year we received almost 300 entries from a wide swath of publications. Eater, San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post led the list with at least six finalists each. We look forward to recognizing the first-, second- and third-place winners on Sept. 13, 2017, at a special awards ceremony during AFJ’s annual conference in Philadelphia.

2017 AFJ National Conference in Philadelphia

Planning for the AFJ Food conference in Philadelphia is underway, with James Beard Award winners Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, of Canal House, signed on as our keynote speakers. The multi-talented pair will talk about their careers from their days at Saveur to their current culinary endeavors, including writing, designing and photographing their own series of cookbooks, writing their popular daily lunch blog, and even hosting a radio show.