Daily Archives: August 19, 2016

We are what we eat: Richard Manning talks to FERN about his travels in Iowa – Food and Environment Reporting Network

State Fair in Des Moines. Photo by Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register.

FERN’s latest collaboration with Harper’s Magazine is Richard Manning’s story, “The Trouble with Iowa: Corn, Corruption, and the Iowa Caucuses,” the cover story of the magazine’s February issue. (The piece is available now for Harper’s subscribers, and will be open for others after Feb. 1). Manning, author of Against the Grain, hits the campaign trail with the Republican presidential candidates and asks why all of them–and, for that matter, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders–shy away from any talk of Iowa’s most glaring problem: the stranglehold that industrial agriculture has over this and all our other midwestern farm states. FERN’s editor-at-large, George Black, talked with Manning about the relationship of Big Ag and politics at the onset of the electoral season.

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The Trouble with Iowa – Food and Environment Reporting Network

Corn, corruption, and the presidential caucuses

By Richard Manning, On August 5, 2016

“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 had just taken the lead in every national poll. He was speaking to a crowd of about 700 people inside a high-school auditorium, and another 700 or so were standing outside in the overflow section. The appearance of this crowd was, not surprisingly, homogeneous, though one man who looked Latino sat on the bleachers behind the podium, well within view of the cameras trained on Trump. Before the speech, this man had been intensively stage-managed by Trump’s people: he was taken off the stage, given a properly logoed T-shirt, then reseated up front, stage left, nope, not quite, and finally reseated on the periphery, stage right, about halfway back.

…(read more)

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NRCS – Natural Resources Conservation Service – USDA

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Food and Environment Reporting Network – Independent. Investigative. Non-profit.

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 info

See our Staff and Board members bios.

Or read our Editorial Board members’ bios.

We also maintain a Code of Ethics for our reporters and staff.

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The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet: Kristin Ohlson

Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices―and, especially, modern industrial agriculture―have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world’s soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist

and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for “our great green hope”―a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon―and potentially reverse global warming.

As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air―an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries―scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers―who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.

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The Biosphere: Vladimir I. Vernadsky

“Vladimir Vernadsky was a brilliant and prescient scholar-a true scientific visionary who saw the deep connections between life on Earth and the rest of the planet and understood the profound implications for life as a cosmic phenomenon.” -DAVID H. GRINSPOON, AUTHOR OF VENUS REVEALED
“The Biosphere should be required reading for all entry level students in earth and planetary sciences.”

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Climate Science at MIT: 3. Atmosphere & Climate: Prof Dan Cziczo

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