The Dirt 2017
Collection of FERN writing 2017
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.
“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.