Help us keep digging

“Democracy cannot survive too much ignorance” – Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter

Each day brings more startling revelations in Washington, never mind the drumbeat of Trump headlines. In fact, there’s so much news that a recent Pew survey found that we’re getting weary of it all, ready to tune out.

At FERN, we help you manage the overload by keeping important food and ag stories front and center, but also by elevating, exploring, and revealing issues that too often are ignored in the nonstop political news out of Washington

Almost half of our budget comes from individual donors, i.e. people like you. And now we need you to dig a little deeper into your pockets so that we can continue to dig deeper into the food system.

We redoubled our efforts to find important, under-covered stories wherever they are.

  • “A year after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s farmers claw back,” was broadcast on Nebraska Public Media’s “On the Table” podcast and was syndicated with Harvest Public Media, a network of stations in the Midwest. NPR veteran Allison Keyes travels to the American territory to tell the story of how farmers there have been largely left to their own devices as they scramble to piece their livelihoods back together. This partnership brought our coverage into the middle of the country with a widely broadcast report.
  • In “The end of the ‘panda of the sea,’” Ben Goldfarb wrote a gorgeous narrative documenting a controversial band of environmental activists who worked with the Mexican government to try to save the vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California that is going extinct. This was the latest in our  partnership with Pacific Standard magazine.
  • “Drinking Problems” by Contributing Editor Elizabeth Royte for Harper’s Magazine charts the difficulty when environmental protection conflicts with culture. In Pretty Prairie, Kansas, farm fertilizer had contaminated the area’s groundwater, with the nitrate levels eventually topping 20 parts per million, double the federal limit. For many years, the town was “creative” in its methods to remain compliant with federal nitrate levels as it tried to come up with a viable solution. But it wasn’t simply cost considerations that upheld the status quo. The town’s close relationship with area farmers, who are part of the fabric of the community, also played a big role.

We want to keep investigating, explaining and exploring. But we can’t do it without you.

The Dirt 2017 cover
Get The Dirt 2018 when donating $2/mo or $25 or more.

We’ve released our newest print collection — The Dirt 2018 — which includes seven of our favorite stories from this year in an elegant magazine.

Please consider not just a donation, but a recurring donation in the form of a small amount every month. This kind of “sustaining” support is key for us going forward.

  • For $2 a month, you can get The Dirt 2018
  • For $5 a month, you can get the FERN baseball hat or our beautiful anthology The Dirt: FERN’S First Five Years.
  • For $15 a month, you can add the hat plus choose any two items you like (The Dirt, mug, tote, T-shirt or apron!)*

Note that the hat is ONLY available along with a monthly recurring donation! That’s the kind of commitment we need.

You may also donate by check made out to Food & Environment Reporting Network, 576 Fifth Ave., Ste. 903, New York NY 10036. FERN accepts donations of appreciated stock, which may offer additional tax benefits (talk to your accountant). We encourage donations from Donor Advised Funds as well as direct donations from IRAs for donors over 70 years of age with mandatory distribution requirements.

*You will receive your gift after your fourth monthly payment


Food & Environment Reporting Network is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity. Our Tax-ID is 27-4108978. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by U.S. law. You will receive a receipt by email. Please save or print this for your records.