What We Do
The Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) is the first and only independent, nonprofit news organization that produces award-winning, high-impact investigative and explanatory reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health through partnerships with regional and national media outlets. Through our impartial “watchdog” journalism we seek to shine a light on injustices and abuses of power within the food system — both corporate and governmental — while taking full measure of the true impact food and agriculture have on public health and the environment. FERN uncovers, explores, and explains news that is critical to the public’s right to know about food, agriculture, and environmental health.
We’ve chosen to focus on food, agriculture, and environmental health specifically because these subjects touch our lives every day in profound ways. There are a wealth of urgent stories to be told and as editors and reporters with decades of writing about these subjects under our belt, we do so in a timely and compelling way.
Currently, investigative reporting is at risk as an enterprise. Historically a loss-leader for publishers, in-depth reporting has always been the backbone of good journalism. Yet tight budgets have forced many outlets to reduce investigative staff while those that remain are forced to do more with less time and support.
New media has challenged the old model of journalism and has opened opportunities to spread stories far beyond their original publication. We believe the future of media will require partnerships between non-profit and for-profit outlets to produce these costly and yet absolutely critical stories and to provide communications support after publication.
The Food & Environment Reporting Network is based in New York City. It was founded in September 2010 by an initial team that included Samuel Fromartz, Tom Laskawy, Naomi Starkman, and Paula Crossfield. It began operations in January 2011.
We are funded by the generous support of the The 11th Hour Project, Clarence Heller Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, McKnight Foundation, the TomKat Charitable Trust, the Woodcock Foundation, Gaia Fund, Joyce and Irving Goldman Foundation, Loews Foundation, Nell Newman Foundation, The Sand Dollar Fund and a number of individual donors.
If you would like to donate, please be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or read our Editorial Board members’ bios.
We also maintain a Code of Ethics for our reporters and staff.