FERN’s Friday Feed: Feeding the nation’s soul

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

A lasagna in every oven!

The Washington Post

“This is Lasagna Love’s goal: Volunteers cook batches of lasagna and deliver them free to families struggling with food insecurity or other issues during the pandemic. The project has served lasagna to more than 4,000 people, and volunteers are in every U.S. state. ‘Giving somebody a lasagna communicates like: Hey, take a break here. Everybody get together, have that family experience,’ says Rhiannon Menn, Lasagna Love’s founder.”

Is the Southwest getting too hot for animal agriculture?

The Guardian

As average annual temperatures rise in the Southwest, “[a]nimal farmers are … compelled to find ways to adapt to this climatic shift, exploring new ways of keeping chickens and cows cool, or importing more heat-resistant breeds,” writes Chris Malloy. “Lingering in the air is the question of whether the climate crisis is making animal agriculture in this part of the world impractical.”

Triple your impact with a gift to FERN

Thanks to NewsMatch and a generous donor, now — through Dec. 31 — your new monthly donation to FERN will be matched 24x or your one-time gift will be tripled. We need your support to keep up with all that’s happening in food and ag, so please give now.

How online SNAP fails rural Americans and boosts giant retailers

In These Times

Online SNAP was billed as a “core com­po­nent” of the Trump administration’s Covid-19 response. But “[a]n In These Times inves­ti­ga­tion finds that many rur­al res­i­dents say online gro­cery order­ing and deliv­ery is fun­da­men­tal­ly at odds with their cul­tur­al, phys­i­cal and tech­no­log­i­cal real­i­ties. Instead, the pro­gram is almost entire­ly to the ben­e­fit of retail giants — leav­ing out inde­pen­dent gro­cers — and ignores the gaps in rur­al infrastructure.”

How four Black women are changing the sport of competitive fishing

The New York Times

On the final day of the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Fishing Tournament, the Ebony Anglers walked from the dock to weigh their catch. “[A] few bystanders cast curious glances their way,” writes Jonathan Abrams. “It was probably the first time any of them had come across a team of all Black women in the mostly white, mostly male world of competitive fishing … Many Black people … are not exposed to the nautical lifestyle, and the high cost of entry to competitive fishing is a significant deterrent.”

The sandwich that can swing a presidential election

The Economist

“It was the cheese that proved to be John Kerry’s downfall in 2003. The Democratic candidate ordered his cheesesteak with Swiss — an unforgivable error,” writes Josie Delap. “Worse still, he nibbled daintily at the sandwich instead of taking big bites and embracing ‘the Philadelphia lean,’ a stance that ensures the juices dribble down onto the pavement and miss the eater’s shirtfront. The ridicule that met Kerry’s choice explains why ordering a Philly cheesesteak has been described as one of the riskiest moves a high-profile politician can make.”