The Dirt 2019-2020
The Dirt 2019 and 2020
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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.
“In the Amazon, farming the forest to save the forest,” by Brian Barth and Flávia Milhorance with National Geographic tells the story of a group of farmers in remote northwestern Brazil who have set up a co-op that plants native fruit trees on exhausted former ranchland. In the process, the farmers are not only reforesting the area in a way that mimics the natural habitat, but they’re also earning about five times more per acre from their agroforestry plots annually than local ranchers are earning by clearing the forest to graze their cattle.
“The hog baron,” by Charlie Mitchell and Austin Frerick for The Highlight by Vox digs deep into the history of the massive hog farming operations that have taken over the Iowa pork industry (and, to some extent, Iowa itself) over the last 30 years. Corporate consolidation in agriculture is a significant interest of ours here at FERN and we’ve covered the impacts of large-scale animal ag over the years. But this may be the best explainer we’ve yet produced as to where the trend started and why it was so difficult to stop
“Has the American truffle finally broken through?” by Rowan Jacobsen for The Smithsonian Magazine reports on the decades-long attempt to bring large-scale truffle farming to America. Not only are truffles some of the highest value agricultural products in the world, they are also a form of agro-forestry as they literally grow on (well, under) trees. Yet, despite millions of dollars of investment, many American truffle orchards have never produced any truffles at all, and only a handful produce more than a few pounds.