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FERN is a 501(c)3 corporation. You can also donate by check made out to FERN sent to our new address of 580 Fifth Ave., Ste. 820, New York, NY 10036. For help with donations, including making changes to recurring donations, payment issues, or appreciated stock donations, please contact Tess England at [email protected] or by phone at (856) 295-1425. We encourage direct donations from IRAs or other retirement accounts that are subject to mandatory distributions. If you select a gift with a monthly donation, you will receive the gift after the fourth month. If you select gifts that require international shipping, we will follow up with the additional donation amount needed to fulfill your request.

A special message from Former Associate Editor and Staff Writer Leah Douglas

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.

“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.

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“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

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“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.

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