Recent Articles About Agroecology


In Lincoln Smith’s basement, shiny, solid Red Oak acorns dry in racks stacked up to the ceiling. A bucket of Sawtooth acorns—a failed storage attempt—sit next to his refrigerator, the contents chewed into beehive-esque patterns by weevils.

Storage is just one example of all there is to learn about acorns as a sustainable food source, Smith says.

“Some of the Eastern Native Americans would bury whole bags of acorns in the riverbank,” he says. “It’s kind of amazing that something that was buried in the riverbank for a year could be edible food.” Read more

It can seem like no one cooks anymore. Most grocery stores (and even some gas stations) have a wealth of pick-up options for hungry people at the end of a long day of work. Processed meals have made it into the organic aisle with brands like Amy’s and Annie’s. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that since 1970, the number of meals eaten away from home has risen from 25 to 43 percent of total food spending per household.

And if Michael Pollan’s new documentary series, Cooked, which begins streaming on Netflix today, is any further evidence, the spread of processed foods and Western diets is taking out cooking, one family at a time. Read more

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

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

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