To say that 2020 has been a rough year so far is the most extreme of understatements. We are living through a global pandemic taking lives, forcing us apart, and wreaking havoc on the economy and the food system; the global fight for racial justice sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in May; and the impacts of climate change that continue to harm communities and farmers with hotter and more extreme weather.
As dire as our predicaments are, and how easy it may be to get bogged down in bad news, there are some bright moments and signs of hope. Civil Eats has been steadfastly reporting on the challenges we face, and we have also highlighted important, good work taking place.
For instance, people in large numbers are reconnecting with their local food systems, boosting demand for the work of independent, small-scale farmers and fishermen, meat processors, and food co-ops.
Also of note: Many Indigenous communities are returning to traditional foodways to rebuild the food sovereignty of their tribes; community groups are finding creative ways to get healthy food to hungry people; and advocates and organizers throughout the food system are fighting for social justice and climate resilience, and making noteworthy gains.
Despite the doom and gloom dominating the headlines, people across the country are still demonstrating compassion, ingenuity, and solidarity as they work together to solve problems and stand up for what they believe is right.
Civil Eats has shone a light on many such inspiring efforts with our reporting this year, and while we take a much-needed publishing break this week, we want to leave you with some “good news” to hold onto. Please join us in believing that, in spite of it all, there is always reason to have hope.
People are signing up for CSAs in record numbers. Could the once-struggling model sustain small farms through hard times—and beyond?
After Hurricane Maria, hundreds of young farmers, many women, have established bold approaches to agriculture—and their ideas are resonating beyond the island.
On big farms, protecting women and men from sexual violence has required a cultural shift. Our reporter spent weeks with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, documenting their effective methods of education, monitoring, and enforcement.
This Native-run coronavirus relief effort could help the Navajo Nation become more resilient over the long term.
Amid the pandemic and racial-justice uprisings, Black organizers nationwide are getting fresh, healthy food and groceries to those who need it most.
Big Meat put most small slaughterhouses out of business. Those left are demonstrating their resilience, but their limited numbers point to the need for improved infrastructure.
By transforming a decaying prison into a flourishing farm, these young men are avoiding the criminal justice system—and creating a model to share.
Amid massive tracts of wheat and corn destined for global markets, some farmers are planting cover crop mixes designed to be harvested by their communities.
A grain and flour expert enthusiast says the local flour revolution is tastier, healthier, and has created more robust markets.
With a grocery store, traditional garden programs, and an emphasis on cooking, the northern North Dakota tribe is reviving its food system through traditional foods.
Health and environmental concerns are driving ‘phenomenal’ growth for these humble pulse crops, which offer soil as well as dietary benefits.
Experts say saving seeds is an important piece of the food sovereignty puzzle. Plus: Video tips to ensure next year’s crop.
VEGGI Co-op has weathered Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Now, it’s facing the twin threats of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
Project Isaiah quickly made use of idle airline catering infrastructure to provide meals to hungry people in 11 cities nationwide.
Compared to supermarkets with empty shelves and long lines, co-ops’ long-term focus on building resilient foodsheds is paying off.
In Vermont, and across New England, the dairy industry is coming together to support struggling farmers and hungry families.
When wholesale and restaurant markets closed down, the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market quickly built up direct-to-consumer sales in the local food shed.
The nonprofit Dream of Wild Health grows food to fight insecurity and creates food sovereignty for Native Americans hit hard by the pandemic and ongoing racial justice protests.
Loren Poncia of Stemple Creek Ranch explains the opportunities and challenges raising livestock with regenerative practices during COVID-19.
In Alabama’s Black Belt, where COVID rates are high and hospitals are understaffed, Dr. Marlo Paul and her plant biologist husband, Anthony, are making house calls and providing free herbal remedies from their own farm.
Top photo by Jake Price.