Our Favorite Stories of 2018

TanámEllie Tiglao. Photo by Chris McIntosh.

1. ‘We Envision Gas Stations As Hubs of Environmental Advocacy’

You use reusable shopping bags. You recycle, and maybe even compost. You take the T whenever you can. But sometimes, driving is unavoidable—maybe your job is inaccessible by public transit, or maybe the bus never showed. You take your car, even though you cringe when you think of the impact non-electric cars have on the environment.

Local nonprofit Green Gas is pioneering a new system that will let drivers offset their carbon footprint at the gas pump. The Green Gas Card and Green Gas pumps donate 10 cents per gallon to projects that reduce carbon—the total amount necessary to counteract the damage of driving, according to the nonprofit’s founders.

Read the full story.

2. ‘Moon Eaters’ Creates Platform for APIA, Femme Voices

Somerville resident Lily Xie and her fellow creators choose the words of their mission statement with great care, laying out the groundwork of a zine at the intersection of Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) and femme identities.

“Moon Eaters is a place for us to talk to each other about representation and cross-diaspora experiences. We want to talk about things we love, like music, snacks, TV celebrities, trending styles. We also want to talk about things like immigrant journeys, our bodies, estranged families, displacement.”

Read the full story.


Photo by Sasha Pedro.

3. The SheBoom Sisterhood

They have many names for themselves. “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Drums.” “The Rolling Crones.” A “post-menopausal percussion and vocal ensemble.”

They are many things—women, activists, mothers. One was a realtor, another’s a former professor, and a third has written five books about Halloween.

They came together haphazardly.

“It’s a small world in Somerville and Cambridge,” says Lesley Bannatyne.

“Especially for old feminists,” Janet Axelrod adds.

Read the full story.

4. The YouTube Icon Next Door

Neil Cicierega was at the forefront of a new, online-based comedy movement. It was a mantle he would continue to shape when he discovered his sister Emmy’s humorously drawn comics paying tribute to an iconic boy wizard and his magical friends.

“Potter Puppet Pals” went on to gain millions of views, catch the attention of J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe, and help shape the early days of YouTube.

Read the full story.

5. Building Bow Market

From nabbing the renowned Comedy Studio from Harvard Square to providing brick-and-mortar spaces for beloved local pop-ups, Bow Market bears the opportunity to fundamentally change the way that people conceive of and patronize the already vibrant Union Square.

Read parts one and two.


Cliff Notez, left, and Tim Hall. Photo by Sasha Pedro.

6. How HipStory Is Redefining Storytelling in Digital Media

Over the course of its seven-year history, HipStory has been many things. It started as a mixtape, found a home online as hipstory.org, and then, at one point or another, set its sights on conquering every corner of the musical world.

“It had many different aspirations,” founder and co-owner Cliff Notez says. “We wanted to be a label, we wanted to be a TV company. We wanted to be everything.”

Production company, collective—the list goes on. But no matter what shape HipStory has taken, it’s been driven by the sheer creative energy of the company.

Or, as co-owner Tim Hall puts it simply, the desire to “do a lot of dope shit.”

Read the full story.

7. Ben Ewen-Campen Helps Usher In a New Era of Local Politics

Progressive candidates backed by the local chapter of Our Revolution ushered the city into a new political era in the last municipal election, when all nine candidates who were endorsed by the Bernie Sanders-inspired group took seats on the board of aldermen and the school committee.

Ben Ewen-Campen brought to the table a platform rooted in creating affordable living options in Somerville, pledging to offset taxes and create jobs, to preserve green space, and to improve infrastructure. A small battalion of progressive voters rewarded his promises with the Ward 3 alderman seat.

But despite the groundswell of support, Ewen-Campen is an unlikely politician. He works as a biologist at Harvard Medical School, and was only inspired to get into politics after the 2016 presidential election.

Read the full story.

8. Food For All, Except the Dumpster

If you’re a restaurant, you never want to run out of food. Customers expect that you’ll have options available at all times, even near closing. They might find sparse shelves off-putting, and you’ll lose money if you don’t have what a customer wants to order.

This expectation from customers pushes restaurants, especially grab-and-go establishments, to overproduce.

“It’s difficult for them to prepare less, because it is both one of their policies and psychological for the users that every time that a customer arrives, no matter the time of day, the tray needs to be always full,” says David Rodriguez, co-founder of Food For All, an app that lets restaurants sell their leftover food at a discounted rate. “[It] is a culture of abundance.”

Read the full story.

9. Ellie Tiglao Brings ‘Narrative Cuisine’ to the Table With Tanám

“It’s important to tell your own food story.”

That’s the driving force behind what Ellie Tiglao, one of Boston’s rising culinary talents, describes as “narrative cuisine.” Her new restaurant, Tanám—slated to open in Bow Market—blends artistic inspiration and historical awareness to create intimate and memorable dining experiences.

Read the full story.

10. Hidden Harvests with the League of Urban Canners

Some things are hard to miss: the leaves changing to vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange, the impossibly long line at that one ramen restaurant in Porter Square, the traffic in Union Square at 4:15 p.m. Other things—like the hundreds of fruit trees tucked away throughout Somerville and Cambridge—are not so easy to notice.

Many people walking the cities’ streets aren’t aware of the food growing around them, according to Sam Katz-Christy, the founder of the League of Urban Canners. He knows because he was once one of them.

Read the full story.

League of Urban Canners

Photo by Sasha Pedro.