USDA Pushed to Release Food Stamp Sales Data

The USDA may soon be forced to release information about how much money the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)–also known as the food stamp program–pays to specific retailers. This is the subject of FERN’s latest report for Mother Jones by Tracie McMillan, bestselling author of The American Way of Eating. “The Argus Leader, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, […]

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FERN Wins INNovation Fund Grant

Today, FERN is proud to announce that it is one of eight winners of the first round of the Investigative News Network’s (INN) INNovation Fund grants. Established with support from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the INNovation Fund’s sole purpose is to spur nonprofit newsrooms to undertake innovative projects that will bring their organizations […]

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Quinoa at the Heart of International Farmer Rights and Hunger Dispute

Quinoa–a resilient and highly nutritious grain–is increasingly popular worldwide and could be a solution to hunger, but the plant will not flourish outside its native Andean Plateau, or Altiplano. And the seed that could be used to breed more adaptable varieties is closely held by Bolivia and other Andean nations. FERN investigates the worldwide food […]

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Grassland Plowed Up at Rates Not Seen In Nearly a Century

Native grassland across America’s Western Corn Belt–the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa–is being plowed up to plant row crops at a rate unprecedented since the 1920s. Our latest report in the March/April issue of The American Prospect, “Plowed Under,” by reporter Jocelyn Zuckerman, explores the causes of this dramatic expansion of row crops and its […]

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Palau to Ban Commercial Fishing, Protecting Sharks and Tuna

The Pacific island-nation of Palau plans to ban all commercial fishing vessels from its waters, creating one of the world’s largest marine reserves. The sanctuary will cover about 230,000 square miles, an area of ocean slightly smaller than the size of France. This is the focus of the latest report by the Food & Environment […]

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Fracking California: Putting Water and the Environment at Risk

California is currently positioned to become the next hub of hydraulic fracturing—also known as “fracking.” In FERN’s latest story, “Nervous Energy,” in the April 2014 issue of Sunset magazine, reporter Barry Yeoman explains that the practice’s demand for water and its environmental impact in other states has locals who live atop the 1,750-square-mile, oil-rich Monterey Shale asking questions. Fracking […]

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FERN Report Examines Long-Term Study on Pesticides’ Impact on Children of Farmworkers

According to a 15-year study, pesticides could be having a profound impact on the health and brain development of the children of farmworkers in the Salinas Valley, known as America’s salad bowl. The study and the current regulatory framework for organophosphates and other pesticides are the subject of the latest story by reporter Susan Freinkel […]

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FERN Hires Pulitzer Prize Winner Dennis Chamberlin as its Director of Photography

The Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) is pleased to announce that Dennis Chamberlin has joined its team as Director of Photography. Chamberlin, along with the staff of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, received a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for coverage of a devastating Indiana flood in 1982. Chamberlin will coordinate all of FERN’s photographic work, […]

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Washington Ag Pro Chuck Abbott Joins FERN Team

FERN is pleased to announce a new partnership with veteran agriculture reporter Charles “Chuck” Abbott, who will produce a daily round up of top agriculture news to be called “FERN’s Ag Insider by Chuck Abbott.” The newsletter will be offered free of charge to subscribers at thefern.org. To date, Abbott has produced a newsletter—fondly called […]

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Organic Farmers Take Hit in Drought

Organic meat and dairy farmers are being hit hardest by the California drought, forcing many farmers to sell cows for hamburger meat or just bow out completely. This is the subject of FERN’s latest report on Medium.com by reporter Kristina Johnson. “Organic livestock farmers are in a unique bind in this drought, because to qualify as […]

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