Food & Agriculture

I'm all about food. Plain old lip-smacking good food, garden-fresh produce, organic farming, urban farming, grass-based agriculture, aquaculture, sustainability, nutrition, food history and community, the list goes on...  

This section compiles articles from several food-centric projects I write for. Go on, have a taste! 

Radio: Investing in the Land

“The places I felt that we would get really lasting conservation were the places where the local people were deeply connected to the land and relied on it for their livelihood,” says Jill Isenbarger, CEO of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. People like watermen working in Chesapeake Bay, foresters in Maine and farmers in the Midwest are investing in the land the most. And as a result, they are most invested in its conservation. But Jill—and the Stone Barns Center more broadly—are focu

Radio: ‘Breeding’ a Thriving Regional Grain Economy

Dr. Stephen Jones, a professor of Crop and Soil Science and the director of The Bread Lab at Washington State University is a wheat breeder who never dreamed he’d be producing wheat varieties bearing “hints of chocolate” or “spicy overtones.” And yet, with his interest in flavor and commitment to championing farmers, it’s really no surprise that he’s found himself doing exactly that. Under Dr. Jones’ direction, The Bread Lab at Washington State University is run in such a way that it “can put t

Rootstock Radio: Breaking—and Baking—Bread with Adrian Hale

“I’m a writer, and I’ve always enjoyed baking,” says Adrian Hale, a food writer whose foray into baking bread began as a last-ditch effort to find bread that her daughter’s stomach could tolerate. After a bit of experimenting, Adrian perfected her “Mama Bread” and has never gone back. Today she combines her passion for writing and bread baking—her essays have appeared in publications such as Saveur, Culture and Brain, Child Magazine.

Roostock Radio: Cottage Food Activism

Lisa Kivirist, an old hand at this whole Rootstock Radio thing (listen to her other episode here!) is still involved with supporting, empowering and connecting women farmers through Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and serves as a Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota. Recently, Lisa has also redoubled her efforts around cottage food activism in Wisconsin. Fighting for p

Rootstock Radio: Cast Your Vote for the Future of Organic

Gary Hirshberg, Chairman and Co-Founder of Stonyfield Farm (the world’s leading organic yogurt producer) champions a simple philosophy: “everybody who eats has to vote.” Of course, Gary doesn’t expect to realistically enforce this statement, it’s the idea behind it that he’s passionate about. The author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World, and a frequent speaker on the topics of sustainability, organic agriculture and the profitability of green business, Gary knows a thing or two about the intersection of agriculture, business and policy.

Rootstock Radio: Lindsey Shute and the Obstacles Young Farmers Face Today

“The issue of land access is really one of the founding challenges of the National Young Farmer’s Coalition,” says Lindsey, sharing that she and her husband started their journey in farming on rented land because they could not afford to purchase a farm of their own. But many young farmers discover that renting land comes a cost: they may be forced to leave it. “The loss of land is incredibly difficult,” says Lindsey explaining that although it’s a nuisance, you can move a tractor, but “what you can’t move is the love that you’ve put into that land, that soil, where the wet spots are and where the slope is—the knowledge you have of that land, that’s something that you have to start from scratch at another property.”

Radio: Two Problems In Our Food System, One Solution

In May of 2009, Gary Oppenheimer founded AmpleHarvest.org after realizing that one solution could address two problems in our food system: food waste, and access to healthy food. “If I could solve the problem of home and community gardens wasting food by enabling them [gardeners] to get that food to a neighborhood food pantry, suddenly the food is no longer being wasted and the healthiest food you can get—freshly harvested food—gets to the people with the least access to it.” This is the foundat
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