Cooper Levey-Baker has written about food, politics, civic issues, the arts, and music in Southwest Florida for 15 years. His work has won multiple awards from the Florida Magazine Association and the Florida Society of Professional Journalists, as well as an honorable mention from the Julia Child Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @LeveyBaker.

Open up

Manatee County Has the Chance to Create a New Land Conservation Program

If voters approve a new measure this fall, the county could acquire land to protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, preserve environmentally sensitive land and create public parks.

1:17pm By Cooper Levey-Baker

Green Energy

Our Favorite Salads in Sarasota-Manatee

Where to find the freshest, most flavorful salads right now.

08/13/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker Photography by Chad Spencer

Climate Change

State Grant Will Help Sarasota County Plan for Sea Level Rise

Florida says sea level around the state could rise by as much as 3 feet by 2060, and wants to help Sarasota get ready.

08/13/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Squad goals

Food Delivery Service Wants to Hire 200 New Drivers in Sarasota

As demand for delivery from restaurants rises, so has the need for more drivers.

08/11/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Hunger

Meals on Wheels Shifting Food Distribution for Manatee County Families

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee has seen need spike because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/10/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Nature

Sarasota County Buys 40 Acres for Environmental Conservation

The property links the existing Old Miakka Preserve to 120,000 acres of conserved land near the Myakka River and Tatum Sawgrass Marsh.

08/06/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

10 Bucks Or Less

Smoqehouse Specializes in Tasty Sandwiches

The restaurant replaced The Oaks Open Pit B-B-Q on the South Trail earlier this year.

08/04/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Is It Safe to Eat Out?

How Local Restaurants Are Handling COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Restaurants have instituted a number of new safety measures, but dozens of complaints about a lack of social distancing have been filed with the state.

08/04/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Eat better, do better

Psychiatrist and Author Launches New Video Series on Nutrition and Brain Health

Dr. Uma Naidoo is the author of the new book This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods That Fight Depression, PTSD, ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, and More.

07/31/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Moments of Joy

Moment of Joy: Sipping That Nitro Cold Brew With Sweet Cream

Cooper Levey-Baker has been working from home since March, and since he doesn't have regular access to his favorite coffee shops, he's come to rely on Starbucks.

07/30/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

10 Bucks Or Less

Gyros & Seafood Express Gets Facelift, Adds Online Ordering System

The north U.S. 301 restaurant has something I'm hunting for more and more these days: a drive-through.

07/29/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Breaking

The Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market Will Reopen Saturday, Aug. 1

The market has created what it calls a "customer code of conduct" for shoppers that includes wearing a mask and staying at least six feet apart from others.

07/17/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Recipe

Let's Learn How to Make Rosemary & Thyme's Pistachio-Crusted Salmon

Via Skype, Rosemary & Thyme owner George Armstrong discusses how the restaurant is managing during the pandemic and shares a mouth-watering recipe with us.

07/14/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Pop, pop

New Popcorn Shop Opens

The former executive director of the Sarasota Farmers Market recently opened Uncle Phil's Organic Popcorn.

07/14/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Back at it

Venice Farmers Market Reopens Saturday

The market is the first in the area to reopen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

07/08/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Neighborhood guide

Where the Locals Eat in North Manatee County

Five restaurants where people from Parrish, Ellenton, Palmetto and Terra Ceia like to gather.

07/06/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Takeout Time

Thai Seed Supplies the Flavors of Bangkok to the University Town Center Area

The restaurant is currently offering dine-in service up to 25 percent of its capacity, plus takeout with curbside service.

07/02/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Survey Says...

Survey Finds Most Floridians Think It's Important to Wear Masks in Restaurants

According to a new survey, eight in 10 Floridians say it's either "very" or "somewhat" important to don a mask while visiting a restaurant.

06/30/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

First Look

Willow's Cafe Brings More Breakfast, Lunch Options to the Rosemary District

The restaurant, which opened in April, serves everything from simple egg-based breakfasts to sandwiches, wraps and salads.

06/30/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Breaking

City of Sarasota Now Requires Masks in Public

The city received hundreds of phone calls and emails about the proposed ordinance in recent days.

06/29/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker and David Hackett