20 Solutions-Focused Food and Agriculture Stories for your Summer Inspiration | Civil Eats

20 Solutions-Focused Food and Agriculture Stories for your Summer Inspiration

A look back at our recent reporting on some of the people and programs making a positive difference across every aspect of our food system and society.

A queer farmer at Rock Steady Farm.

The U.S. is in the midst of a rough summer, following a rough year-and-a-half: The Delta variant and low vaccination rates are causing COVID-19 infection levels to soar, and drought, wildfire, and extreme temperatures are devastating farmers and the communities they feed. Given how much we’re facing and how much more lies ahead, it’s easy to feel hopeless about the challenges our country and its food system are up against.

Yet in the face of these enormous problems, many individuals are working toward solutions—and realizing success. As Civil Eats takes its annual summer hiatus this week, we leave you with a collection of recent stories that shine a light on efforts to fight climate change, build food sovereignty and resilience, support food workers and farmworkers, and create a more inclusive farming culture.

Is Fonio the Ancient Grain of the Future?
Yolélé hopes this nutritious, climate crisis-ready crop will compete with quinoa globally, while supporting smallholder farms in West Africa.

On November 8, 2020, Gakwi:yo:h Farms relocated their wild bison herd to Ohi:yo' at the Sunfish flats in Allegany, a sprawling 300-acre plot of land where the bison may roam freely. (Photo courtesy of Seneca Media & Communications Center)

The Seneca Nation Is Building Food Sovereignty, One Bison at a Time
The pandemic has spurred a reconnection to farming and Indigenous culture and foodways for the Seneca Nation.

Vermont Plans to Send Cash to Immigrant Farmworkers Left Out of Stimulus
Migrant farmworkers are crucial to the state’s dairy industry, and a new initiative offers relief funds to make up for a lack of federal support.

Valarie Mckenzie brews an espresso at Wildflyer Coffee. (Photo courtesy of Wildflyer Coffee)

The Coffee Shop Giving Homeless Youth a Chance at Success
Wildflyer Coffee in Minneapolis provides skills training and support—as well as an income—for young people experiencing homelessness.

Can Bridging the Gap Between Landowners and Farming Tenants Help Improve Soil Health?
Forty percent of U.S. farmland is owned by non-operating landowners. When they support their renters’ use of conservation practices, it can make an important difference.

College Students Struggle to Enroll in SNAP—but Peer Support Programs Help
As more students face food insecurity during the pandemic, student navigators at the City University of New York help clear SNAP sign-up hurdles.

the little africa market parade put on by the aeds

How a Food Business Incubator Is Building Black Economic Strength in Minnesota
With new funding, African Economic Development Solutions hopes to foster culture and community with a Pan-African immigrant cooperative market.

Queer, BIPOC Farmers are Working for a More Inclusive and Just Farming Culture
Young, queer farmers of color say they encounter high rates of racism, sexism, and other forms of identity-based oppression in farm country. Here’s how they’re working to change that.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty Movements Are Taking Back Ancestral Land
From fishing rights off Nova Scotia, to grazing in Oklahoma and salmon habitats on the Klamath River, tribal groups are reclaiming their land and foodways.

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Transplanting melons in to high-residue beds on Full Belly Farm. (Photo courtesy of Full Belly Farm)

Can California’s Organic Vegetable Farmers Unlock the Secrets of No-Till Farming?
Reducing tillage—which often relies on herbicides—has long been out of reach on organic farms. Now, a group of veteran growers are undertaking a soil health experiment with implications for California and beyond.

This Doctor Is Working to Build Resilience and Land Justice for Communities of Color
Rupa Marya discusses land rematriation, a new Indigenous-led farm, and the long-term effects of colonization on food and medicine in vulnerable communities.

A NYC Reentry Program Offers Formerly Incarcerated People Healing, Dignity Through Meals
The Fortune Society’s food and nutrition program works to address the power and relevance of a good meal for people who have been involved in the justice system.

Harvesting 'ulu (Photo credit: Hawai'i 'Ulu Cooperative)

Reviving Breadfruit, the Polynesian Staple, Could Nourish People and Fight Climate Change
Promoted as the next superfood, breadfruit just might be the world’s most ecological carbohydrate, and on the verge of a much-needed renaissance in Hawaii and beyond.

The Rise of Guaranteed Income Programs Could Offer a Lifeline for Food Workers
After a successful pilot program in Stockton, California, cities nationwide are considering supporting low-income workers—many of whom work in the food system.

Doniga Markegard standing with her grazing cattle. (Photo courtesy of Markegard Ranch)

As the West Faces a Drought Emergency, Some Ranchers are Restoring Grasslands to Build Water Reserves
Western ranchers are restoring diverse, grassland ecosystem practices that can improve the land’s capacity to hold water—and help them hold onto more cattle.

How a Year of Mutual Aid Fed Minneapolis
‘The murder of George Floyd has been an impetus for those of us who believe in making healthy, whole foods more accessible in a country that constantly fails BIPOC people in a myriad of ways.’

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These Garden Mentors Are Growing Equity
Master gardeners are helping fight food insecurity by supporting home gardening to build healthier communities.

goats grazing down wildfire fuel in northern californiaConnecting Ranchers with Land Stewards Could Be Key to Less Disastrous Wildfires
In California and across the drought-parched West, programs are springing up to help goats, sheep, and cattle eat down the plants that would otherwise become fuel for wildfires.

Farmer Co-ops Are Giving Latinx Communities Room to Grow
In addition to building economic security, small-scale cooperative farms in North Carolina are strengthening community and a sense of home-grown pride.

Rose Fraser harvesting potatoes in a garden on the Pine Ridge Reservation. (Photo courtesy of the Oyate Teca Project)

On Pine Ridge Reservation, a Garden Helps Replace an 80-mile Grocery Trip
For the past six years, a garden program has taught residents of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation how to build financial independence and food security through gardening.

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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  1. A lot of good news short news items as it relates to food, conservation and food security. Thank you for sharing. Hope you have a great summer hiatus week. ???

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