20 Reasons to Support Civil Eats on #GivingTuesday

A selection of our best stories this year showcases the breadth and depth of our reporting. This year, double your donation impact with NewsMatch.



It has been another critical year for journalism, and especially for independent media. In a crowded news space, we’re proud to be a trusted news source producing meaningful, nuanced stories, breaking down complex policy changes, and highlighting underreported people and ideas.

Civil Eats is a nonprofit, independent news and commentary site; we’ve never taken advertising and rely on subscriptions, donations, and grants to pay our writers and editors. Since 2009, our tiny team has worked hard to bring a diverse array of perspectives to the forefront, while shining a light on the food system stories that matter most.

In the past year alone, we’ve covered in great depth the stories that don’t make it into other national publications: a groundbreaking series on rural environmental and agricultural issues; a spotlight on indigenous communities to defend and reclaim their traditional foodways; in-depth reporting on the 2018 Farm Bill; a focus on innovative farmers nationwide; continued reporting on the perilous state of food and farm labor today; and so much more.

Our award-winning reporting on food and politics has taken center stage, and we’ve doubled down on our commitment to finding and telling these stories. New media partnerships with Slate, Salon, The Guardian, KCET-TV, DAME magazine, Talk Poverty, and ongoing partnerships with Eater, Public Radio International, and others have allowed us to reach millions of additional readers this year, further fostering robust national conversations about food policy.

As the esteemed Marion Nestle recently said:

“Civil Eats is such a force for truth, when truth has taken on a whole new meaning. …If ever there was a good cause, this is as good a cause as there ever was.

If you value our award-winning work, please consider donating and signing up for an annual subscription. This year, your donation will go twice as far: Civil Eats is participating in NewsMatch, a national call to action to support journalism that strengthens democracy from the Institute for Nonprofit News. From November 1 through December 31, 2018, every individual donation up to $1,000 (including subscriptions) will be doubled by NewsMatch partners, including the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

This #GivingTuesday, we are also celebrating #GivingNewsDay, in recognition of the vital role that journalism plays in our communities and our democracy. You can donate here or on our NewsMatch page. Civil Eats stands to match up to $25,000 for a total of $50,000, but we need your support to make the match by the end of the year. We count on your donations to help us continue to do our critical work.

We publish one or more thought-provoking and breaking news stories every day of the week. We’re on track to publish 260 articles in 2018; below are 20 of our best, in chronological order, and chosen to showcase the breadth and depth of our reporting.

Thank you from all of us at Civil Eats!

1. Why Are There So Few Black-Owned Grocery Stores?

Local food leaders are seeking solutions to fixing food in their communities. This story launched our media partnership with Slate and was named a Best Idea of the Day by the Aspen Institute.

2. No-Till Farmers’ Push for Healthy Soils Ignites a Movement in the Plains

No-till farming started as a way to keep costs down for conventional farmers in danger of losing their land. Now it has become a subculture and a way of life for outsider farmers all over rural America. This story launched our year-long Rural Environment & Agriculture Project.

(Photo courtesy of Vote Hemp)

(Photo courtesy of Vote Hemp)

3. Hemp is on the Horizon. Will it Change the Game for Farm Country?

Congress could soon approve a bill to fully legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp. But will farmers grow it sustainably and take advantage of its environmental benefits before Big Ag gets in the game?

4. Behind the Rise and Fall of Growing Power

The urban farming powerhouse had a global reputation. Then, it collapsed last year under mounting debt, prompting big questions about what happened and what comes next. This story was shared by our media partner Public Radio International.

5. What Children Understand About Food Insecurity

Researchers have begun asking children about their households’ lack of food—and making surprising discoveries. This story was shared by our media partner Slate

6. Carbon Farming Works. Can It Scale up in Time to Make a Difference?

The knowledge and tools to sequester carbon on farmland have blossomed rapidly in California; now farmers and ranchers just need funding to make it happen. This story was shared by our media partner Salon.

Two women making traditional Oaxacan food in central California

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Morehouse)

7. Immigrant Women are Providing a Taste of Oaxaca in California’s Central Valley

Diverse immigrant communities are forging new paths and bringing traditional culture to rural America. This story was reported in partnership with KQED public radio’s California Report Magazine

8. In North Carolina, New Pollution Allegations Add to Residents’ Woes Over Factory Farms

State regulators are examining major flaws reported by some hog farms. Meanwhile, legislators passed new laws restricting the right to speak up about harm caused by CAFO waste. This story was shared by our media partner Salon.

9. Can Vertical Farms Reap Their Harvest? It’s Anyone’s Bet.

Indoor-grown produce is available in more than 20 supermarket chains nationwide. But despite massive investment, questions remain about efficiency and costs. This story was shared by our media partner Eater.

Heber Brown outside Browntown Farms. (Photo courtesy BCFSN)

(Photo courtesy of the Black Church Food Security Network)

10. Black Churches, Powerful Cultural Forces, Set Their Sights on Food Security

The Baltimore-based Black Church Food Security Network is building a community-centered food system to combat ‘food apartheid’ by connecting Black farmers with historically African-American churches. This story was shared by our media partner Public Radio International.

11. In Alaska, Changes to SNAP Could Spell Disaster

In a state where 14 percent of the population rely on food stamps, it’s cheaper for a family to buy a 12-pack of soda than a gallon of milk. This story was part of #SNAPweek, our series looking at how SNAP affects a range of different communities, and what the proposed changes might mean for a variety of Americans. This story was shared by our media partner Eater.

12. Michigan’s Failed Effort to Privatize Prison Kitchens and the Future of Institutional Food

When private companies took over the state’s prison kitchens, inedible and inadequate food was just the tip of the iceberg—now other institutions outsourcing foodservice are on notice. This story was part of a series of articles on food served to incarcerated people, which we ran during the 2018 Prison Strike. It was shared by our media partner Salon.

13. Is the Second Farm Crisis Upon Us?

Farmers across the country are in a state of emergency with dairy and grain producers, new farmers, and farmers of color being hit the hardest.

14. Food Waste Wars: The Imperfect Enemy of the Good

When a food justice organization accused Imperfect Produce of taking their customers, it unearthed a larger set of questions about the latest food-systems investment frenzy. This story was shared by our media partner Eater.

Sally Fox. Photo © Paige Green

(Photo © Paige Green)

15. Meet the ‘Fanatic’ Breeding Colored Cotton, Growing Heirloom Wheat, and Building Soil Carbon

Sally Fox is a cotton pioneer, having spent most of her life studying and growing naturally colored cotton, while also raising sheep and evangelizing the benefits of heirloom wheat. This story was one of our monthly profiles of innovative farmers.

16. Racing Against the Harvest, Custom Wheat Cutters Struggle to Stay Relevant

For nearly 100 years, itinerant workers known as “wheaties” have followed the Great Plains wheat trail, cutting ripening grain from south to north. Climate change, global markets, and the depopulation of rural America are now casting doubt on the future of their way of life. This story was also made possible by an award from the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources. It was shared by our media partner Salon.

17. How Will California’s Climate Ambitions Reshape Food and Agriculture?

Some experts say Governor Jerry Brown’s pledge for a zero-emissions state by 2045 won’t be possible without rethinking the entire industry. This story was shared by our media partner Salon.

Chef Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz driving “the mutton,” or the Mobile Unit for Training and Nutrition (MUTN). Photo courtesy of Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz.

(Photo courtesy of Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz)

18. How the Navajo Nation Is Reclaiming Food Sovereignty

Through cooking classes, outreach, and social media, a new generation of Native Americans are reconnecting to Indigenous foodways. This story was produced in partnership with our media partner DAME magazine and shared by our media partner Eater.

19. Reckoning with Opioids in Farm Country

In rural America, farmers are being especially hard hit by opioid addiction. Can a coalition of national farm groups addressing the crisis head on make a difference?

20. Months After Hurricane Florence, Undocumented Farmworkers Still Struggle to Recover

In North Carolina, immigrant farmworkers, a backbone of the state’s ag sector, have been hard hit by lack of access to assistance due to deportation fears. This story was shared by our media partner Salon.

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