Summer Reading: 20 Signs of Progress in the Good Food Movement

A collection of some of our favorite hopeful stories we've published so far this year.


Editor’s note: Civil Eats is taking the week off. To tide you over until we return to our regularly scheduled programming, we present a collection of highlights from the first half of 2017. We’ve highlighted some of our most hopeful stories—signs of progress at a time when progress seems rare. We work aims to spotlight the powerful work happening in communities around the country, as well as the good work of people fighting to stay on course toward an economically, socially, and environmentally just food system.

1. New Book Offers a Dash of Hope—and Dose of Reality—for Young Farmers

In Letters to a Young Farmer, Joel Salatin, Temple Grandin, Karen Washington, and many others share their wisdom, advice, hopes, and concerns for young farmers.

2. For Seed Rebels, Saving Life’s Building Blocks Has New Urgency

As the seed industry consolidates, open source breeders hope to preserve a handful of important varieties for the farms of the future.

3. 8 Ways to Move the Food Movement Forward in the Age of Trump

A discussion by Mark Bittman and Professor Nicholas Freudenberg about uniting food activists in New York City with the larger Trump resistance offers lessons and tools to create positive change everywhere.

4. Food Waste Becomes Delicious Meals with an Agenda at Rooster Soup

A new Philadelphia restaurant makes soup from leftover chicken and donates 100 percent of its profits to a nonprofit fighting hunger and homelessness.

5. The Match.com of Seed Saving

The Center for Food Safety rolls out a new site for seed saving and seed swapping, aimed at the tech-savviest generation of growers.

6. Growing Agrihoods: The Next Frontier in Urban Revitalization

A two-acre farm in Detroit’s North End neighborhood offers free food, green space, and hope to the community.

7. Carbon Farming & Cutting Food Waste: Climate Solutions That Don’t Require Trump’s Buy-in

Paul Hawken, the editor of a new book, Drawdown, has found that changing the way we grow and eat food has surprising potential to reverse climate change.

8. The Fisherman Who Wants to Transform SF’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Giuseppe “Joe” Pennisi, a third-generation fisherman based out of the San Francisco Bay, is reconnecting Bay Area eaters with fish from their local waters.

9. There’s Funding to Support Organic Farmers, but Many Don’t Know It Exists

An internal USDA memo shows a glut of funds remains available to reimburse farmers for organic certification.

10. Returning Native Seeds to Their Roots

Rematriating native seeds allows Native American communities to collect, plant, and trade foods that strengthen their heritage.

11. Fighting Fake News with Immigrant Stories

The Perennial Plate aims to change peoples’ minds about immigrants and refugees through storytelling that breaks through the red-blue divide.

12. Kamut Makes a Comeback

A Montana farmer dedicated decades to khorasan wheat, and it’s finally taking off.

13. Delivering Summer Meals to Rural, Low-Income Kids with Retired School Buses

The Lunch Express, a project from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, aims to feed kids and families during summer break in a region where one in four children lives at or below the poverty line.

14. Is a More Equitable, Fairer Farm Bill Possible?

While Capitol Hill begins another round of Farm Bill negotiations, grassroots leaders gathered to discuss the people, places, and issues that have too often been shut out of funding.

15. Doubling Up Healthy, Local Produce at California Groceries

A program launched this month in Northern California aims to make buying local fruits and vegetables in grocery stores more affordable for low-income shoppers.

16. Want Healthier Soil? Link it to Crop Insurance

Scientists now say incentivizing soil health would improve food security and sustainability, especially as the climate changes.

17. Seeding a Need: How a Seed Company Doubles its Impact

The buy one, give one model puts heirloom seeds in the hands of those who struggle with food access.

18. A D.C. Urban Farm Takes On Urban Problems

Dreaming Out Loud’s new farm hopes to provide jobs, business incubation, and more in a city ward that has often been overlooked.

19. Meat Processing in a Box

Can new modular, USDA-compliant meat processing units tucked into shipping containers help make small- to mid-scale farms more successful and sustainable?

20. Eat Less Meat: A Small Change with a Big Impact

Industrial agriculture is reshaping the world, from our atmosphere to our dinner plates. Familiarize yourself with the current landscape: Meet your meats.

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