Awards & Honors
FERN’s Leah Douglas awarded the Milt Hakel Agriculture Communications Award
Leah Douglas, a FERN staff writer and associate editor, was awarded the Milt Hakel Agriculture Communications Award from the National Farmers Union for her work investigating the effects of consolidation and monopolization in the food and agriculture sectors.
The Milt Hakel Agriculture Communications Award is given to reporters or news outlets displaying outstanding reporting on agricultural issues. As stated on NFU’s website, the award was named in honor of Milton D. Hakel, a highly respected Farmers Union communicator. A list of past recipients of the award can be viewed here.
James Beard Foundation Award Nominee
California Foodways, a FERN partner and radio program and podcast produced by Lisa Morehouse, was a nominee for a 2020 James Beard Foundation award in the Audio Reporting category for the following pieces: The Curious Second Life of a Prather Ranch Cow: Biomedical Research; Trans Man Finds – and Creates – Refuge in His Family’s Small-Town Cafe; Legalizing Cannabis Impacts Food, Farming in Humboldt.
IACP Award Nominee
FERN reporter Julia O’Malley, was nominated by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in the Narrative Food Writing category for her story, “The Strange, Uncertain Fate of Alaska’s Biggest Wild Salmon Habitat,” which was a joint collaboration between FERN & The Nation. The piece provides insight into the unique environmental challenges faced by Bristol Bay, a rare, pristine wild salmon fishery.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2019
In “The end of the ‘panda of the sea’” Ben Goldfarb describes the effort to save the vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of Mexico, from going extinct. The piece, published in partnership with Pacific Standard, was included in the anthology “The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2019.”
Society for Features Journalism
“Every Day You Become More Desperate,” a FERN story reported by Anna-Catherine Brigida and published in partnership with The Weather Channel, won the Society for Features Journalism‘s third place award for feature series or project. Brigida’s story was part of The Weather Channel‘s climate change project, “Exodus: The Climate Migration Crisis,” which focused on how climate change’s impact to human migration is both global and hyper-local.
FERN Weedkiller Story Wins Awards
“Scientists warned this weedkiller would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway” was a FERN story reported by Liza Gross and published in partnership with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. The story focused on how the EPA based its decision on ‘shockingly insufficient’ company studies. As a result, millions of dollars in soybeans and other crops were destroyed. It won the Society of Professional Journalists NorCal award for explanatory journalism and the Association of Food Journalists‘ third place award for “Best Story on Food Policy or Food Issues.”
James Beard Foundation Award Nominee
FERN Media partner, California Foodways, which is a radio program and podcast produced by Lisa Morehouse, was nominated for a 2019 James Beard Foundation award in the Audio Reporting category for: Providing a Taste of Oaxaca to Central Valley; Can Ag and Wildlife Co-Exist? Rice Farmers Think So; and Frozen Burrito Royalty in the Central Valley .
James Beard Foundation Award
“Terror in the Heartland,” a FERN story reported by Ted Genoways and published in partnership with The New Republic, won the James Beard Foundation award for investigative reporting. The story uncovered details of how an election-night plot to massacre Muslim refugees in a Kansas meatpacking town was thwarted.
SPJ 2017 Sigma Delta Chi Award
FERN, along with The Weather Channel and other media partners, won a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism for “United States of Climate Change.” This multi-publisher and multi-platform journalism project gave a wide look into how climate change is affecting every state in the US. FERN collaborated with The Weather Channel on stories that explored water worries in arid New Mexico, the vanishing trees in Nebraska, and barley and beer in Montana.
SPJ NorCal Excellence in Journalism Award
FERN won a Society of Professional Journalists award in “Features and Longform storytelling (radio/audio) for Lisa Morehouse’s story, “75 Years Later, Japanese Americans Recall Incarceration, Forced Farm Labor,” produced in partnership with KQED’s California Report.
IACP Award Winner
FERN took home an International Association of Culinary Professionals award for Dick Manning’s excellent long-form piece, “The Trouble with Iowa,” written in partnership with Harper’s Magazine. The piece was an investigation into the powerful links between politics, culture and corn farming in Iowa.
California News Publishers Association
The story “Napa’s water war with big wine” won a CNPA‘s Better Newspapers Contest award for environmental reporting. The piece — a look into the growing industrial wine industry in northern California and the fight for water rights — was written by Stett Holbrook and co-produced by FERN and The Bohemian. This story was also a runner-up for International Association of Culinary Professionals award in the “Narrative Beverage Writing” category.
Association of Food Journalism Awards
FERN won two AFJ awards this year. Ted Genoway’s piece “Heart of Agave” (published in partnership with Mother Jones) took home first place for Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits, and Paul Greenberg’s “The Fishermen’s Dilemma” (published in partnership with California Sunday Magazine) earned second place for Best Story on Food Policy or Food Issues.
IACP Award Nominees
Three FERN stories were nominated for writing awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals: Paul Greenberg’s “The Fishermen’s Dilemma,” produced with California Sunday Magazine; Lisa Hamilton’s “Uncharted,” produced with California Sunday Magazine; and Liza Gross’ “Fields of Toxic Pesticides,” produced with The Nation.
Association of Healthcare Journalists Award
Liza Gross won third place from the Association of Health Care Journalists for “Fields of Toxic Pesticides,” produced by the FERN with The Nation. The piece reveals that in California, Latino children face a disproportionate risk to pesticides as compared to white children.
Palm Oil Series Receives Multiple Awards and Nominations
FERN’s story with writer Jocelyn Zuckerman, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Huffington Post about children displaced by palm oil plantations in Indonesia won a the Gold Keyboard Award from the New York Press Club, the Whitman Bassow Award for Environmental Reporting from the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award, the National Headliner Award, and the Online News Association’s Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award. The series also earned an Honorable Mention award from the Society of Environmental Journalists, and it was a finalist for a Gerard Loeb Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism, and Columbia Journalism School’s John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism.
Edward R. Murrow Award
FERN won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for use of sound in the radio story “Grapes of Wrath: The forgotten Filipino-Americans who led the ’65 Delano grape strike.” Written by Lisa M. Morehouse, the story reveals how Filipino-Americans spearheaded the historic labor movement, made famous by the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez. The story originally appeared on KQED’s The California Report.
James Beard Foundation Award Winner
FERN won a James Beard Foundation Award for the story with Harpers Magazine, “The Quinoa Quarrel: Who Owns The Greatest Superfood?” Reporter Lisa Hamilton not only wrote this story, but she produced original photography for it. The piece took home the Beard award for best reporting in the category of “Food Politics, Policy and the Environment.”
IACP Food Writing Award
FERN took home an IACP Award for “Writing that Makes a Difference” thanks to Barry Estabrook’s story, “Antibiotics in your food: What’s causing the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our food supply and why you should buy antibiotic-free food.” The story was produced with our media partner, Eating Well.
Nominations and Acknowledgments for Story on Antibiotics Resistance
Marilyn McKenna’s story with FERN and Medium.com, “Imagining a Post-Antibiotics Future,” was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in the category of “Food, Politics, Policy and the Environment.” Her piece details how antibiotics are growing impotent, and as a result, medicine, agriculture and everyday life could look very different if we lose these drugs entirely. The story was also included in the anthology “The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014.”
James Beard Foundation Award Winner
Tracie McMillan’s piece for FERN and The American Prospect, “As Common as Dirt,” won a James Beard Foundation Award in the category of “Food, Politics, Policy and the Environment.” Tracie’s story explains that in the fields of California, wage theft is how agribusiness is done.