Handmade valentines by A\J's Ellen Jakubowski.

The first half of February has been quite eventful here at A\J.

We ushered in the month with the Guelph Organic Conference, where we met a lot of great people and sampled tasty organic treats. Not to mention learning valuable lessons on bringing organic food to more tables.

(Admittedly blurry) Semini and Jessica at the A\J booth at the Guelph Organic Conference.

Angie Koch of Fertile Ground explained the need to “draw more people into their food story.” The keynote panellists echoed this sentiment, talking about the opportunities organic farming provides for real connections between farmers and consumers. We gathered some great story ideas from the expo – and sold 30 annual subscriptions!

The A\J team decked out for National Sweater Day.

Last week, we celebrated National Sweater Day in style: yoke necks, toggles and the tackiest of colours. There was also exciting lunch-time sweater trivia (Anežká, our graphics intern, won with her "always 12 or C" strategy). Congrats to the World Wildlife Fund for spearheading a fantastic campaign to promote energy conservation.

Intern workstations taken over for lunch and trivia.

The following day, the A\J team braved the snow to wrap up the 39.2 Greenbelts issue – tea and our tallest boots in hand. We’re making final corrections to the proofs today, and then it’s off to press. We’re all looking forward to sharing with you our best issue yet. Look for a sneak peek at the cover next week!

Publisher Marcia Ruby and Editor Eric Rumble scouring the proofs for final corrections.

During our Lifecycles issue debrief we brainstormed on how to make our next issue, 39.3 Art & Media, even better and celebrated a birthday with a table full of homemade treats.

We were also blown away this week by handcrafted valentines made by our very own Wild Side blogger and former intern Ellen Jakubowski (who is also responsible for some of our wittiest headlines). All of the designs are based on real avian courtship behaviours, with the exception of the barn owl mouse offering. According to Ellen, they mostly just screech at each other and sometimes do a cool flight display.

Clockwise from top left: laughing gull, barn owl, blue-footed booby, blue bird of paradise.

Ellen provided some resources so you can learn more about the featured courtship behaviours:

What have you been up to this month?

Julie is an urban planning graduate student at the University of Waterloo, focusing on sustainable transportation.

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