The tasting menu at the end of the world

In mid-August, as a largely uneventful tropical storm named Fausto was starting to wind down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Baja California, a plume of moisture it spun off had metastasized into dry thunderstorms that were rolling across northern California, more than 700 miles away. Recently flattened by a record-setting heat wave, the region… » Read More

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She stakes her claim

On a cold February morning in 2017, a half dozen or so women and several men gathered in the yard of a suburban home outside of Athens, Georgia, to learn how to kill and butcher a hog. The mood was both anxious and somber. Eventually, they would have hams and bacon, ribs and chops. But… » Read More

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Mapping Covid-19 outbreaks in the food system

Since April, FERN has been closely tracking the spread of Covid-19 at meatpacking plants, food processing facilities, and farms. This dashboard is home to our latest reporting on Covid-19 cases and food system workers, and is updated each weekday. According to data collected by FERN, as of January 15 at 12pm ET, at least 1,376… » Read More

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The water war in Indian Wells Valley

John Conaway has lived in and around the town of Ridgecrest since before it was much of a town. In 1967, when he moved his young family to the remote Southern California community, Ridgecrest had been incorporated for only a few years. “It was all dirt roads,” he says. “No stop signs, no nothing.” Mostly,… » Read More

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A grassroots push to save vanishing birds and bees forces change on Germany’s farms

When Norbert Schäffer was a child growing up in Bavaria, gray partridges picked through his parents’ garden, wetlands teemed with newts and toads, and birds like skylarks and lapwings were common over the fields. But when Schäffer moved back to the area in 2014 after nearly two decades of conservation work in Britain, those touchstones… » Read More

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In the jungles of Borneo a novel approach to end deforestation — and the spread of disease

In the early 1990s, Kinari Webb took a year off college to join a Harvard researcher studying orangutans in Indonesia’s rainforested Gunung Palung National Park. As the aspiring primatologist dissected dung samples to determine the animals’ feeding habits, the buzz of chainsaws and the thwuuuump of falling dipterocarp trees—some of the tallest species in the… » Read More

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From the sea floor to the courtroom, the fight to save right whales grows urgent

Artie Raslich has been volunteering for seven years with the conservation group Gotham Whale, working on the American Princess, a whale-watching boat based in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. In that time Raslich, a professional photographer, has glimpsed a North Atlantic right whale, the world’s rarest cetacean, only twice. The first time was an unseasonably warm December… » Read More

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Food system workers may get early access to a Covid-19 vaccine, but how should states prepare?

With food system workers likely to get early access to any future Covid-19 vaccine, experts say state and local officials should start outreach now to overcome language, trust, and access barriers that could shrink workers’ uptake of the vaccine. Many states have prioritized agricultural and food processing workers for the Covid-19 vaccine, draft plans submitted… » Read More

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