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We want to keep investigating, explaining and exploring. But we can’t do it without you. Get any one – or all five – editions of The Dirt now and dive deep into the most critical issues facing the food system today.

A Taste of What’s Inside

Saul Sanchez’s family helps carry his casket in Greeley, Colo., Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Alex McIntyre/The Greeley Tribune/AP

‘The workers are being sacrificed’: As cases mounted, meatpacker JBS kept people on crowded factory floors, by Esther Honig and Ted Genoways for Mother Jones tell the stories of workers in America’s meatpacking plants who are facing high rates of Covid-19 — and of the industry’s chilling disregard for its workforce. Based on interviews with workers, they report that JBS, a meat company with $50 billion in sales, pressured workers at its beef plant to show up for work even after they were exposed to the virus, failed to provide workers with with PPE, lacked soap and water for handwashing, and stopped testing workers for Covid-19 when numbers spiked.

Xavier Morgan, member of the Future Farmers of America. Photo by Peggy Peattie.

Leah Douglas details a racist incident involving a leader of the 700,000-member Future Farmers of America spurred a backlash and revealed a long history of inequity at the student farm organization in her story, “At the nation’s largest student farm organization, a reckoning on races,” published with Mother Jones. Members were demanding the organization dismiss the leader and, more broadly, to reform an organization where racial disparities have long been present.

Tourists stroll along Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea, once a celebrity hotspot. Photo by Lindsay Fendt.

“As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom,” by Lindsay Fendt with The Weather Channel explains how pesticides and other toxins, lodged in the mud at the bottom of  the Salton Sea by decades of agricultural runoff, are creating a public-health hazard now that the lake is shrinking and the exposed mud is drying out, turning to dust. Asthma rates, already high, are expected to rise even higher. The once-prosperous resort towns by the lake have collapsed, and the only people left are farmworkers and others who are too poor to leave.