Can fashion help small farmers preserve the Amazon?

On a rainy March afternoon, Rogério Mendes strides through the dripping vegetation of a tract of virgin Amazonian forest and stops at a tree with scars arranged in neat diagonal rows across its trunk. From his back pocket he produces a wood-handled tool with a blade on one end, called a cabrita, and cuts another diagonal line… » Read More

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Can rock dust be a climate fix for agriculture?

On a hot and humid August day near Geneva, New York, Garrett Boudinot stands in a field of hemp, the green stalks towering a foot or more over his 6-foot, 4-inch frame. Today, the mustached Cornell University research assistant will harvest six acres of the crop, weigh it in red plastic garbage bins, and continue… » Read More

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Has the American truffle finally broken through?

On a frosty February morning in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, the enterprising trio who has finally broken America’s strange truffle curse walks beneath orderly rows of loblolly pine, trying very hard not to step on the precious nuggets beneath their feet. Nancy Rosborough—the self-described “ghetto kid” from Washington, D.C., whose wobbly start-up, Mycorrhiza Biotech, might just be… » Read More

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    Smithsonian Magazine

USDA wants to make farms climate-friendly. Will it work?

What if all it took to make a dent in agriculture’s contribution to climate change was to pay farmers not to farm? That’s the theory behind the recent expansion of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a decades-old initiative that has emerged as a central tool in the Biden administration’s effort to achieve net-zero emissions in… » Read More

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    The American Prospect

This farm relies on birds — not pesticides — to control pests

Dennis Tamura never set out to be a bird-watcher. He’s been a farmer for over 35 years, and he and his wife grow organic vegetables and flowers on Blue Heron Farms outside Watsonville. But birds have become a part of the farm’s ecosystem. About 15 years ago, a bird-loving neighbor put up small wooden bird boxes… » Read More

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    The California Report

The people who deliver your food are hungry

On a sunny Saturday in March, Gustavo Ajche and Ligia Guallpa welcomed two dozen food delivery couriers to a morning rally in lower Manhattan. As mimosa drinkers filled SoHo cafes’ outdoor tables, couriers lined up for hot chuchitos, Guatemalan tamales filled with chicken and beef. Guallpa, head of the immigrant-­focused Worker’s Justice Project, and Ajche,… » Read More

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    Mother Jones

Farmworkers face a life-and-death commute to Arizona’s lettuce fields

It’s one in the morning and the stars are out as hundreds of people shuffle slowly along the wall that marks the U.S. border in the small Mexican city of San Luis Río Colorado. In heavy boots and wide-brimmed straw hats, most everyone here is headed to work in the vegetable fields of Yuma County,… » Read More

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    The Nation

Vilsack’s checkoff problem

When Joe Biden nominated Tom Vilsack to run the Department of Agriculture late last year, the former Iowa governor had a somewhat paradoxical political liability. After eight years as Barack Obama’s agriculture secretary, Vilsack was easily the most qualified politician for the job — only one person in U.S. history has served longer as agriculture… » Read More

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The hog baron

Jeff Hansen, who owns Iowa’s largest hog operation, brought about 5 million pigs to market last year. Each one spent its entire life in a windowless metal shed called a confinement. Passing clusters of the massive sheds on the rural highways, you wouldn’t imagine that a standard confinement holds almost 2,500 pigs — unless the… » Read More

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    Vox.com