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

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. Our 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 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.

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

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.

Thank you for being a loyal reader.

We rely on you. Become a member today to read unlimited stories.

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.

Since 2009, the Civil Eats editorial team has published award-winning and groundbreaking news and commentary about the American food system, and worked to make complicated, underreported stories—on climate change, the environment, social justice, animal welfare, policy, health, nutrition, and the farm bill— more accessible to a mainstream audience. Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

More from



A farmer harvests coffee beans in a plantation along the Mekong River in Thailand. (Photo credit: Sutiporn Somnam, Getty Images)

Climate Solutions for the Future of Coffee

In the face of severe climate change, farmers, researchers, and coffee devotees are refocusing on agroforestry and developing hardier varieties and high-tech beanless brews to save our morning cup of Joe.


Far From Home, the Curry Leaf Tree Thrives

Zee Lilani of Kula Nursery stands among her curry leaf tree starts in Oakland, California. (Photo credit: Melati Citrawireja)

A Guide to Climate-Conscious Grocery Shopping

Changing How We Farm Might Protect Wild Mammals—and Fight Climate Change

A red fox in a Connecticut farm field. (Photo credit: Robert Winkler, Getty Images)

Across Farm Country, Fertilizer Pollution Impacts Not Just Health, but Water Costs, Too

An Illinois farmer fertilizes a field before planting. (Photo credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images)