While El Niño rains have brought some relief to drought-stricken California, Governor Jerry Brown appears to be concerned with the impact extreme weather could continue to have on agriculture in the state. His 2016 budget proposal includes almost $3.1 billion for programs that address climate change and the allotment for agricultural programs jumped from $15 million in 2015 to $100 million. Read more
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Jahi Ellis is in survival mode. His island is the 91 acres of farmland he owns in Vidalia, Georgia, nearly 200 miles outside of Atlanta. His current shelter is a shed on his family’s land. His four-year land redemption agreement ends next fall and if he doesn’t come up with the near $60,000 he owes, he could lose it all. Organic farming—and the price premiums it brings—is one of his last strategies for saving his family’s 144-year-old vegetable farm. Read more
When the days turn cold and dark, farmers celebrate. After months of unrelenting labor, they’re finally able to sit down and relax, spend time with family, and connect and commiserate with their colleagues in this rapidly evolving industry.
Farming conferences dot the landscape throughout the winter months. One of the most popular, high-profile gatherings is the Young Farmers Conference, hosted by Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture as a key part of their Growing Farmers Initiative. The conference has sold out for many years running, the 250 attendees are selected through a lottery system, and it routinely attracts big names from the food world, such as Wendell Berry and Mark Bittman. Read more
At first glance the chapters in Simran Sethi’s new book, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, read like a list of foods we are often told to avoid: wine, chocolate, coffee, beer, and bread. But Sethi says she’s never bought into restrictive diet trends and instead argues convincingly about the deep importance of these humble foods—foods that human beings have been imbibing for millennia. Read more
The holidays are a busy time—but many of us also paradoxically read more this time of year, thanks to travel, time off, and a slowed-down inbox. If you’re looking for your next big read or a gift for a food-minded friend, look no further. We asked our editors and contributors to recommend some of the books they enjoyed most this year. Read more
For over 40 years, Adam DeGroot’s family has grown potatoes and peppers at their farm just south of Chicago.
But it has only been for the last three years that the farm’s veggies have graced the lunch trays at Chicago Public Schools, filled the burritos at Chipotle, and fulfilled the grocery lists of Whole Foods Market shoppers. Read more
As the holidays approach, fresh cranberries are once again appearing in grocery displays across the country. But if you’re hoping to score some organic cranberries, you might find yourself beating the bushes to find them. Read more
In front of Ashley Hollister and Mary Cleaver’s Washington County, New York farmhouse sits a partly dismantled 62-year-old combine the size of a small truck, freshly painted to forestall corrosion. Since it hasn’t been used for 30 years, the farmer is curious to see if, after he’s done refurbishing the machine, it will work. He found it online, drove to Ohio to pick it up, and paid only $400 for it—a great deal. Read more
Medicinal farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter are used to people raising their eyebrows when they say they grow medicinal plants. “Once it’s established that we’re not growing marijuana, the questions start and just don’t stop,” the couple write in the introduction to their new book, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High Quality Herbs on a Market Scale. Read more
In order to grow massive amounts of corn and soybeans, two crops at the center of the U.S. food system, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce, and consumers to consume, a lot of relatively cheap food. Read more