This is cotton, grown in the Arizona desert

This week, ProPublica unveiled its 5-part series on “the truth behind the water crisis in the West,” beginning with this story on Arizona cotton. Every year, Arizona farmers plant 100,000 acres or more of cotton in the desert. And every year, the federal government hands out millions of dollars to support those farmers and those […]


Squalor: home of Florida’s migrant farmworkers -Watchdog Sarasota

Many of our country’s migrant farmworkers (some on temporary agricultural visas) live in appalling conditions that mirror those we’ve seen across the developing world. These workers pick our oranges, grapefruits and tomatoes. They go home at night to camps and trailers with backed-up sewage, leaky stoves, pests and mold. Watchdog Sarasota investigates the situation in […]

African fishermen take mosquito nets to the water

Development work is complicated. Ask anyone with experience in it. Take, for example, this New York Times story about African fishers taking their bed nets to the waterways. These nets, distributed by the millions in efforts to prevent malaria, were intended to keep families safe from nighttime mosquito bites. But villagers, driven by hunger, have […]

Typhoid, then and now

I love think pieces. As it happens, pure coincidence, last week I chose to listen to a Radiolab episode on the origins of disease just as I was taking an oral typhoid vaccination booster—a week-long, 4-pill regimen. The episode, Patient Zero (updated segment) starts with the fascinating story of Typhoid Mary, a carrier of this […]

This is dry: California desert, 2014

Last week, we traveled from one desert through and to another: from high New Mexico to dry California. We combined a family visit with (for me) the annual JAWS conference (highly recommended, for all you female journalists!). The journey took us to San Diego and across to Palm Springs/La Quinta. We’ve all heard about the […]

Just released: the 2014 Good Food Org Guide

The James Beard Foundation and Food Tank announce their new guide to more than 400 nonprofit, educational and municipal organizations working to improve agriculture, health, nutrition and food justice. Need a source? Hundreds here, at your plate.