The Grand Opportunity
When Michelle and Lionel Hughes took up residence at Michelle's childhood farm near Norquay in 1994, the last thing on their minds was publishing. Saskatchewan was a vast opportunity to grow food, connect with a culture that was far removed from urban life, and learn some traditional skills.
Before long, though, the idea of a magazine through which they could share the beauty and culture of Saskatchewan with others was irresistible. The fact that no one else was publishing a regional periodical about the province was, simply, a grand opportunity.
Creating Prairies North, originally titled Saskatchewan Naturally Magazine, began at the kitchen table in the family farm house. Even in 1998, building a publication that could compete with other high quality magazines was a complex task. The magazine grew with the skills they gained and went through many changes until 2007 when it's format and style became the foundation of what it is today.
The vision did not change as design and formats evolved. The goal has always been to give Saskatchewan's landscapes, recreation, culture, and people the best possible presentation for a print, and now online, audience.
Prairies North has garnered many formal awards and official recognition for the role it plays in highlighting Saskatchewan's invaluable natural and cultural wealth. We have always appreciated these kudos deeply. But perhaps more gratifying is the daily conversation we have with readers who tell us that the stories and images we publish bring pride, give ideas for travel, and create renewed motivation to prerserve and enhance the irreplaceable gifts of Saskatchewan's land and people.
All these years on it is still Michelle and Lionel who work together to produce the material that you see on our print pages and on the website. They continue to work from the family farm house and work as much as they can with the land that surrounds them.
Above Image: Autumn 1994 harvest of our kamut crop that was lovingly tended by hand.
A small but enthusiastic staff currently supports the production of the magazine. Marla Twerdoclib has been managing our flow of administrative paperwork for many years and we still depend on her knowledge and care over the bookkeeping details. Charlotte L'Oste-Brown joined the magazine in 2009 as our advertising salesperson and she has an unstoppable passion for Saskatchewan. Since then Jennifer Brooke-Fox joined us in sales as well as Lisa Zepeda as our Digital Media Manager. Robin Cline, owner of Spinn Design in Humboldt, creates the beautiful ads that fill our pages. Jessica Eissfeldt is a familiar name to readers and, besides writing articles, helps with periodic research assignments.
Our friends at Oyster Group in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia manage our subscription files and make sure everyone receives their print copy in the mail. Saskatchewan's PrintWest makes sure that the magazine looks its best when it rolls off the press.
Renewing the Vision
The editorial foundation for Prairies North remains the celebration of Saskatchewan's natural and cultural personality. But we are conscious of the changes that have occured and continue to occur all around us.
So we make an effort to present and interpret perspectives on cultural and ecological security for all of the province's people.
This is a job that we all take very seriously because all of us live in the province about which we write, some rurally, some in cities. We are compelled by what we see in our neighbourhoods to tell stories through Prairies North that inspire creativity, common purpose, truly good things for today and for coming generations.