Paul Quinn College was in a serious state of deterioration when Michael J. Sorrell took the reins as president. The historically Black college in Dallas, Texas, was millions of dollars in debt, facing dwindling student enrollment, and contending with some serious cultural issues. From the moment that Sorrell took his post, things quickly started to change.
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Collie Graddick wants to do something many might say is impossible: Support traditionally marginalized groups of people through one of the least lucrative occupations in the nation—small-scale farming. And yet, despite the odds, that’s exactly what he’s doing. Read more
Have you considered putting in a beehive, but worried that you might not have the time to maintain it? If you live in Seattle, you’re in luck. Once a month, Corky Luster’s Ballard Bee Company will install a hive, care for the bees, and harvest the honey for you.
“It’s like having a lawn service, but with bees. You can sit back and enjoy the bees, and we will take care of them,” Luster explains.
Ballard Bee customers sign up for a year of “urban pollination” services at a time. During the 6-month honey season, they receive two 12-ounce jars of honey a month, and in winter, Luster makes sure the hive survives. Read more
On a rainy November afternoon in Portland, Oregon, 21 high school students took the food handlers’ exam in a church basement. The usual chattering of nearly two dozen young people dropped to a silence as they worked. Sitting upstairs, I could tell when they had finished by the sounds of laughter coming from the basement kitchen.
In 2012, the city of Richmond, California, garnered national attention when its residents voted down a ballot measure to impose a tax on sugary beverages. Groups like Dunk the Junk hoped the measure would significantly hamper the city’s growing obesity problem. Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, saw the tax as an opportunity to invest in the health of her community. Read more
Chellie Pingree is not your average member of Congress. Before joining the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, she had a long career as a state lawmaker in Maine. But before that, she spent more than a decade managing a yarn business using wool spun from sheep she had raised herself. The business boomed, and soon yarn stores and catalogs across the country were carrying Pingree’s products. And she did all of that after starting an organic farm on North Haven, a tiny island off the coast of Maine, when she was barely out of her teens. Read more
“I had no idea how lucky I was to grow up poor in the middle of nowhere,” says Brock. “I wanted to do all the stuff I saw on TV and didn’t want to work in the Goddamn garden. Then it was all I wanted to do, all I gave a shit about.” Read more
When farmers sell their land, many worry about selling out. But you might say that John Gill, a third-generation Hudson Valley farmer specializing in sweet corn, “sold up.” Last December, Gill transferred ownership of his family’s 1,200-acre farm to the NoVo Foundation, led by Peter and Jennifer Buffett, the son and daughter-in-law of famed investor and philanthropist, Warren Buffett. Read more
Thirty-year-old Roxanne Adair is a trailblazer. In 2010, she and a friend started Flint River Farm in Flint, Michigan, a city where urban farming isn’t the norm. Adair’s background was in fisheries, wildlife, and biology, and she used the knowledge gained working at the Genesee County Land bank to buy and rent city lots, totaling nearly three acres, in the heart of Flint. Read more
This fall, Robert Wood started teaching an after-school cooking class in a low-income area of Washington, D.C. When a student’s mother raved about a soup the class had made the week earlier, Wood was thrilled. It was a sign that the recipe itself was a hit and it meant that the student had gone home energized to try the recipe again at home, with her own family. Read more