Drinking problems: A Kansas farm town confronts a tap-water crisis

The friendly waitress at the Pretty Prairie Steak House delivers tumblers of tap water as soon as diners take their seats. Across Main Street, the Wagon Wheel Café offers the same courtesy. Customers may also order coffee or iced tea, but it all starts at the same tap, and everyone is fine with that. This… » Read More

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Q&A: How Pretty Prairie, Kansas, dealt with its drinking problem

Elizabeth Royte, a contributing editor at FERN, writes about the long history of nitrate contamination in the water of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, a farming community just west of Wichita, in the latest issue of Harper’s Magazine. One of the things she explores is why residents didn’t demand that the town fix the problem, even though they’ve… » Read More

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The food revolution’s missing piece

FERN’s latest story, published with Harper’s Magazine, is an excerpt from Ted Genoways’ new book, This Blessed Earth, an intimate account of a year with the Hammonds, a Nebraska farm family. Here, Genoways argues that the difficult realities faced by farmers like the Hammonds need to be part of the conversation about food-system reform.  … » Read More

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The Trouble with Iowa

“I’m driving through these beautiful fields. I want to grab that corn like you’ve never seen. So rich, so beautiful,” Donald Trump told a standing-room crowd last July, at a Make America Great Again “family picnic” in Oskaloosa, Iowa. An obvious applause line, perhaps, but Trump delivered it with the aplomb of a man who… » Read More

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The Quinoa Quarrel

This story won a 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for excellence in writing in “Food Politics, Policy, and the Environment.” At the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations, the General Assembly named 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. When I tell people that, they often laugh— most Americans know quinoa as the latest in a… » Read More

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Native Lands: The Birthplace of Quinoa

The full story paired with these photos won the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for excellence in writing in “Food Politics, Policy, and the Environment.” More on this story Read Lisa’s complete story here. Read more of our reporting on farms & labor. Read more of our reporting on nutrition & food access. Read a… » Read More

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