Civil Eats is known for reporting on the food and agriculture stories that other news sources miss, while digging deep on the issues our readers care about most. We have a lot to celebrate this year, and your support has made it possible. Here are a few highlights from 2022:
New Investigations. We launched a new investigative desk, which has produced some outstanding work to date. So far, we have published stories related to toxic waste and mining in farm communities, investment markets for Colorado River water, union-busting by Kimbal Musk’s vertical gardening company, the PFAS contamination spread by pesticides, and more. We just launched Injured and Invisible, a five-part investigation that deeply reports on an often unprotected, unseen workforce. The response to the series has been overwhelmingly positive, and the stories have been shared hundreds of times since we began publishing.
Awards. Civil Eats received the digital media award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals for best newsletter for our monthly members’ content The Deep Dish. In addition, Senior Editor Twilight Greenaway won an SPJ NorCal Honors 2022 Excellence in Journalism Award for her op-ed “The Flood of Climate Disasters Has the Food System Reeling. It’s Time to Act.” This story about race and gender at craft breweries won best commentary from the North American Guild of Beer Writers. Two stories from former Senior Reporter Nadra Nittle were finalists in the L.A. Press Club Southern California Journalism Awards: this story on Pine Ridge and this story on prison food. Finally, contributor Gabe Pietrorazio’s story on the Seneca Nation won honorable mention in the 2022 North American Agricultural Journalists writing contest for features.
This work can’t survive without your support. If you value our critical, award-winning reporting, please donate to Civil Eats on Giving Tuesday.
Your donation will go twice as far as Civil Eats is once again participating in NewsMatch, a national call to action to support journalism that strengthens democracy from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN). Through December 31, 2022, NewsMatch will double every individual donation up to $1,000 (including memberships).
We aim to not just ask the hard questions, but also to report on the positive changes being made in the American food system. Our core mission has remained the same over the last 13 years: We aim to tell the stories behind our food with an eye toward exposing those in power and lifting up voices that would otherwise go unheard. With your support, Civil Eats can dig deeper, grow its audience, and continue to tell the stories behind our food.
We’re on track to publish more than 250 thought-provoking and breaking news articles about the food system by the end of this year. Below we list 22 of our best solutions stories, in chronological order and chosen to showcase the breadth and depth of our reporting. Thank you all from the entire Civil Eats team!
Can Small Seaweed Farms Help Kelp Scale Up?
While some farms plan to grow massive quantities of kelp, Atlantic Sea Farms is counting on Maine’s small-scale fishermen to expand the industry and distribute ownership.
A Regenerative Grazing Revolution Is Taking Root in the Mid-Atlantic
Farmers are scaling up the practice in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and beyond—and it could simultaneously help clean up the Chesapeake Bay, mitigate climate change, and save small family farms.
In the Battle Over the Right to Repair, Open-Source Tractors Offer an Alternative
Proponents say an open-source farm equipment ecosystem is key to a future of more innovative, repairable, and environmentally adapted tools.
As Dollar Stores Proliferate, Some Communities Push Back
Dollar store parent companies say they’re feeding people in ‘food deserts,’ but critics say they’re making food inequity worse. Now, 25 municipalities have some form of moratorium on new stores.
Meet the Group That’s Been Bringing Bison Back to Tribal Lands for 30 Years
For the past three decades, the InterTribal Buffalo Council has worked to reconnect Indigenous people with bison, reviving traditions and healing communities.
Are Criollo Cattle a Regenerative Solution to a 1,200-Year Megadrought?
This heritage breed has adapted to dry rangelands and may help regenerate the soil while needing less water and feed than other cattle. Ranchers in Southern California are helping them find a niche.
This Group Has Rerouted 250 Million Pounds of Food From Landfills to Feed People in Need
The LA-based nonprofit Food Forward is using the lessons it learned during the pandemic to expand food assistance into other cities, regions, and communities.
Farm to School Efforts Just Got a Big Influx of Cash. Will It Help More Schools Get On Board?
California approved a massive increase in funds to help school districts buy locally grown foods. But money is just one of many obstacles to success.
Only Two States Have Passed ‘Right to Garden’ Laws. Will Others Follow?
In recent years, Illinois and Florida have passed legislation protecting citizens’ right to garden on their property. A movement is underway to pass more laws around the country.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, groups are galvanizing to create the first national fund focused on service workers, including restaurant workers, delivery workers, bartenders, and those working other jobs where tips are central.
Hydroponics Help Urban Schools Grow Food Year-Round
In New York, Maryland, California, and beyond, hydroponic farms are being used as teaching tools while also addressing food access challenges.
Coming Soon to a Food Label Near You: ‘Bee-Friendly’ Certifications
A growing number of farms are seeking out pollinator-friendly certifications, but the two programs offering certification—run by the Xerces Society and Pollinator Partnership—are taking very different approaches.
How One Rust Belt College Is Transforming Its Local Food System
In Michigan, Kalamazoo Valley Community College has built a rare model aimed at connecting people through growing food, supporting local farmers, and educating a wide variety of community members.
Co-Op Grocery Stores Expand Their Mission to Equity and Food Justice
As the country faces unprecedented labor and social upheaval, grocery co-ops are embracing deeper approaches to addressing systemic racism.
For Healthier School Meals, California Bets On More Cooks in the Kitchen
The state is investing $45 million in a program to train more chefs and increase cooking from scratch—but labor shortages remain a significant challenge.
Leaving Some Farmland Fallow Benefits the Air We Breathe
A new study shows that air quality improvements are due to the absence of agricultural production.
Native Farmers Push for More Equitable Training and Support in the Farm Bill
Expanding the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) could level the playing field for Indigenous food producers as they address climate change and food sovereignty.
Year-Round Farming in Massachusetts? How the State Is Investing in Solutions.
The state has funded 487 projects, including geothermal-powered greenhouses and electric tractors, to strengthen its food system and make local production more efficient.
Urban Farms Are Stepping Up Their Roles in Communities Nationwide
After a road trip touring farms around the country, our report provides a snapshot of how three innovative, resilient urban farms are fighting food insecurity and building connections with neighbors.
Disabled Activists Are Building a More Inclusive Food Justice Future
From helping retrofit community gardens to making food pantries more accessible, a small but growing group of advocates and allies want to see a food movement that includes the one-quarter of U.S. adults living with disabilities.
Absent Federal Oversight of Animal Agriculture Safety, States and Others Step Up for Change
States are extending OSHA powers, overtime, and collective bargaining while labor-driven programs center workers.
Students Are Building the Next Generation of Farmworker Advocates
We talk to Yadira Paz-Martinez, a 19-year-old former farmworker, about learning the ropes of advocacy with Student Action with Farmworkers and using theater to connect with communities across North Carolina.
It was early September and the height of tobacco season, the most demanding time for…
In the face of those environmental injustices, Chicago's Southeast side community has come together to…
Now, the agency has finally started taking action to address some of the loopholes long…
For nearly 10,000 years, pastoralists have domesticated and managed grazing animals such as reindeer, camels,…
Take, for example, Mineral, the effort from Google’s parent company Alphabet, which has been in…
Many workers in the food industry experiencing parosmia—or a long-term distorted sense of smell—find their…