Quinoa–a resilient and highly nutritious grain–is increasingly popular worldwide and could be a solution to hunger. But the seeds are not free to adapt to other climates. Lisa Hamilton reports from Bolivia for the May issue of Harper's.

Michelle’s Moves

In March 2010, Michelle Obama stood on a stage in Washington and leveled a challenge at the food industry’s biggest players. “We need you all to step it up,” she told a meeting of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Just a month earlier, she’d launched the Let’s Move campaign, the Obama administration’s flagship anti-obesity program, which […]

In Summer, Toxic Blue-Green Algae Blooms Plague Freshwater

  One summer day two years ago, Danny and Laura Jenkins’ black Labrador retriever Casey returned from a swim in Ohio’s Grand Lake St. Marys carpeted in thick green slime and reeking. Danny washed the dog off and, at some point, got some of the gunk in his left eye. A few weeks later, Danny […]

As Common as Dirt

In the fields of California, wage theft is how agribusiness is done.

Photographs by David Bacon “As Common as Dirt” has won the 2013 James Beard Award in the Politics/Policy/Environment category. The award is the highest honor for food journalism. One morning earlier this year, in the borderland town of Brawley, California, 75-year-old Ignacio Villalobos perched on a chair in his trailer, removed a plastic bag from […]

Boom-and-bust Salmon Catch is Booming Again

(Updates story with state and federal study on hatcheries) After years of going begging, Northern California is awash in salmon. Charter boats are booked up to two weeks in advance, and anglers claim to be bagging their limits before noon. The smell of gurry and the glimmer of scales are back at San Francisco’s Pier […]

The Faces of Food Stamps

For nearly 50 million Americans living in poverty – the highest in more than half a century – getting a meal on the table isn’t easy. One-in-seven now receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (better known as food stamps) but that barely covers the necessities, especially when assistance runs thin at the end of the […]

Whose Side is the Farm Bureau On?

The American Farm Bureau, with its six million “member families” and carefully cultivated grassroots image, talks a good game. In the pitched battle over US farm policy—with agribusiness giants on one side, and small family farmers, organic and local food advocates, and environmentalists on the other—the Farm Bureau positions itself as the voice of the […]

How Your Chicken Dinner Is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug

Adrienne LeBeouf recognized the symptoms when they started. The burning and the urge to head to the bathroom signaled a urinary tract infection, a painful but everyday annoyance that afflicts up to 8 million U.S. women a year. LeBeouf, who is 29 and works as a medical assistant, headed to her doctor, assuming that a […]

Crop Insurance a Boon to Farmers – And Insurers, too

Here’s a deal few businesses would refuse: Buy an insurance policy to protect against losses – even falling prices — and the government will foot most of the bill. That’s how crop insurance works. The program doesn’t just help out farmers, however. The federal government also subsidizes the insurance companies that write the policies. If their losses grow too big, taxpayers […]

If Food’s in Plastic, What’s in the Food?

In a study published last year in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers put five San Francisco families on a three-day diet of food that hadn’t been in contact with plastic. When they compared urine samples before and after the diet, the scientists were stunned to see what a difference a few days could make: […]

Farming Communities Facing Crisis Over Nitrate Pollution, Study Says

Nitrate contamination in groundwater from fertilizer and animal manure is severe and getting worse for hundreds of thousands of residents in California’s farming communities, according to a study released today by researchers at UC Davis. Nearly 10 percent of the 2.6 million people living in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley might be drinking […]

Logo and website by SOUTH BEND