Our Best Climate Coverage of 2019 | Civil Eats

Our Best Climate Coverage of 2019

From regenerative agriculture to community resilience, climate change was front and center in our reporting in 2019. Here are some of our best stories.


For better or worse, 2019 may be remembered as the year climate change went from being an issue many of us paid attention to and worried about in private to the story in the spotlight at the front of the stage. And, contrary to what many Americans might think, the way we farm, eat, transport, refrigerate, and waste our food (or don’t) are all important factors in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This year, we dove deep into the challenges related to climate change, including its potential impact on human health, food workers, and our system at large. We also continued to highlight existing food and agricultural solutions, many of which deserve greater attention. We were proud to double our climate coverage this year, joining with more than 300 news outlets during the week-long #CoveringClimateNow partnership. Here are some of our best stories this year on climate change and food.

Silvopasture Can Mitigate Climate Change. Will U.S. Farmers Take it Seriously?
The ancient, sustainable practice of pasturing animals among trees is gaining traction in the U.S. If it scales up, it could help shrink our carbon footprint.

Tomatoes growing under solar panels at the University of Massachusetts.

Agrivoltaics: Solar Panels on Farms Could Be a Win-Win
Massachusetts is leading the charge in dual-use solar installations, making it possible to grow some crops and pasture animals while generating clean energy.

Farmworkers Are on the Frontlines of Climate Change. Can New Laws Protect Them?
As temperatures heat up, farmworkers face mounting health risks. Some advocates are creating and expanding laws to protect them.

Top photo: University of Missouri students produce maple syrup at Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Center. (Photo CC-licensed by the UM College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.)Could Maple Syrup Be a Climate Change Solution?
With growing demand for maple products, conservation groups and farmers alike see a financial incentive to keep carbon-storing woodlands intact.

Climate Change Is Intensifying Food Shocks
From rain-soaked fields in the Corn Belt to drowned livestock, food shocks—abrupt disruptions to food production—are becoming more common as a result of extreme weather.

Can We Grow Enough Seaweed to Help Cows Fight Climate Change?
Research suggests that adding red seaweed to cattle feed makes then burp 60 percent less. Now, some scientists are asking what it would take to do it at scale.

Illustration showing farmworkers in a dusty field where they're at risk of contracting valley feverClimate Change-Fueled Valley Fever is Hitting Farmworkers Hard
The potentially deadly disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus made worse by rising rates of dust storms. In California’s Central Valley, farmworkers are bearing the brunt of the problem.

Impossible Foods and Regenerative Grazers Face Off in a Carbon Farming Dust-Up
The plant-based burger company called regenerative grazing the “clean coal of meat” in a recent report. That hasn’t gone over well amongst carbon ranchers.

Will Indigo Ag’s New Private Carbon Market Pay Off for Farmers?
The company has raised millions to help farmers sequester a trillion tons of carbon in the soil. A California carbon farming advocate weighs in.

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Cory Booker Wants to Pay Many More Farmers to Practice Carbon Farming
The Climate Stewardship Act, which Booker plans to propose in September, aims to ‘dramatically scale up’ voluntary conservation incentives for farmers and ranchers.

Kannan Thiruvengadam with Jessica Ventura, and the sign given by Ventura's grandfather to Eastie Farm.

Boston’s Eastie Farm Builds Community and Resilience on the Front Lines of Climate Change
Sprouting from a 3100-square-foot lot, the urban farm brings people together, feeds neighbors, and focuses on being climate-ready.

Will Climate Change Mean Less Farming in the West?
Colorado and California are rethinking water management for a hotter, drier future, while balancing urban water needs with the benefits agriculture brings to rural communities.

Investment in Regenerative Agriculture Connects the Dots Between Soil and Plate
The public and private sectors are rapidly picking up efforts to ramp up carbon farming.

A farmer adjusts siphon tubes on furrow irrigated lettuce near Phoenix, Arizona. (NRCS photo by Tim McCabe)

As Water Sources Dry Up, Arizona Farmers Feel the Heat of Climate Change
Farms in central Arizona will soon lose access to Colorado River water, impacting farmers, cities, and Native communities.

The Greenhouse Gas No One’s Talking About: Nitrous Oxide on Farms, Explained
Nitrous oxide gets much less attention in ag circles than carbon dioxide and methane, but it’s 300 times more powerful at warming the planet.

To Prevent the Next Dust Bowl, Give Soil a Chance
As the United Nations gathers for a Climate Summit, farmer Gabe Brown and ag specialist Ron Nichols urge regenerative agricultural practices to improve the soil and slow climate change.

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Can Big Ag Be Part of the Climate Solution?
The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, which represents agriculture’s biggest trade groups, has gone from not mentioning the words “climate change” to promoting farmers’ role in mitigating it.

Prairie Strips on Larry and Margaret Stone's farm near Traer, IA. Strips were frost seeded in January 2016 and this photo was taken in July 2017, showing the first year of growth.

Planting Native Prairie Could Be a Secret Weapon for Farmers
In Iowa, researchers and farmers are discovering that planting strips of native prairie amidst farmland benefits soil, water, biodiversity, and more.

Big Food is Betting on Regenerative Agriculture to Thwart Climate Change
General Mills is one of several big companies investing in regenerative agriculture. Will it reverse climate change or just help sell more products?

High Plains Farmers Race to Save the Ogallala Aquifer
By restoring soils and grasslands, farmers in the Texas Panhandle are conserving the last water beneath their feet.

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 >

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