Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.
New Lines Magazine
“‘Karachi is a city of migrants and the economic heart of the country. In many ways all these different communities are being pushed up against each other as the population of the city continues to grow faster than the infrastructure can accommodate,’ [Samira] Shackle says. With few recreational activities available and access to public spaces often restricted due to class, gender or the city’s security situation, food is the main, if not only, way for people to come together easily,” writes Anmol Irfan. “More important, it has also become a way to preserve identities and delineate different migrant communities that have settled in Karachi throughout its history.”
“[D]rought turns flash flooding from a predominantly urban phenomenon—made worse by human-made surfaces—into something that can strike anywhere,” writes Amit Katwala. “‘Drought and heat waves may mean that natural surfaces, both in urban and rural areas, may temporarily respond to rainfall in a similar manner,’ says [Simon] Parry. There may be a vicious cycle at play here too, because droughts and floods could make subsequent droughts and floods more severe. Anything that scours the land—whether that’s a wildfire fuelled by drought or a flash flood that sweeps trees from the ground—will make future flash flooding more likely and raise the chance of landslips and mudslides.”
“Arizona grew Saudi Arabia’s agriculture industry into the behemoth it is today, alfalfa fields and all. The close partnership between the Grand Canyon State and the Middle East monarchy has lasted for close to a century, and now Arizonans are reaping the water-driven consequences our ancestors sowed,” writes Hunter Bassler.
The Washington Post
“The poblano peppers were a deep green, with waxy skin that reflected the sunlight. They had grown in Loudoun County soil alongside 20,000 pepper plants of all varieties, from bells to jalapeños, and on this August morning, volunteers were piling them into green plastic bins,” write Kyle Swenson and Susan Doyle. “A cargo truck waited to haul them away. Like the rest of the 230,000 pounds of fresh produce and protein produced this year at the JK Community Farm in Purcellville, Va., the delivery was heading not to a grocery store or a farmers market but to families in need.”
In the 19th century, “the funerary feast was a rare opportunity for extravagance among Pennsylvania Germans. Instead of the usual cabbage and dumplings, there was beef, ham, or chicken. Instead of the usual coarse rye bread, there was white or wheat,” writes Sam O’Brien. “But the sweet star of the funeral banquet was raisin pie, a dish so tied to the event that it became a euphemism for death itself. When an ailing member of the community took a turn for the worse, it was not uncommon to hear someone solemnly declare, ‘There will be raisin pie soon.’”