Since 2001, I have produced award winning work, receiving recognition from the Sidney Hillman Foundation, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the James Beard Foundation, the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, the Harry Chapin Media Award, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, and more.
Mother Jones, The Wayne Barrett Fund at the Investigative Fund
ONE NIGHT LAST MARCH, Sue Fredericks ran into trouble. She had been watching snow accumulate for hours from her post at a 24-hour gas station. Busy stretches on her overnight shift were rare, on account of the size of the town in which she worked; with a few thousand residents an hour from Indianapolis, it is small and quaint, surrounded by corn and soy fields and featuring a shuttered Walmart. March marked Sue’s eighth month on the job, and she was earning $8 an hour. Around 4 a.m., Sue (who asked that I change her name) consolidated the trash into two bags, propped the door open, and, hands full, walked outside. Somewhere near the dumpster, her foot hit a patch of ice. Sue’s leg flew out from under her, and she landed on her right ankle. “I heard it snap and all,” she said later, but “I didn’t break it to where my bone was sticking out.” Continue reading “How One Company Is Making Millions Off Trump’s War on the Poor”
National Geographic • March 8, 2018
Peer into the future of what we eat, and you will encounter many questions about what will happen to our meals. As the world’s population climbs above 9 billion by mid-century, our food needs will grow by 70 percent. How do we meet them without mowing down every forest or without resorting to industrial agriculture, which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has cited as the most significant contributor to climate change? How do we maintain soil health, and keep it from washing away, so that crops can thrive? These questions get into murky territory. But here’s one thing that’s clear: Dinner in 50 years won’t look much like dinner today. Continue reading “Menu of the Future: Insects, Weeds, and Bleeding Veggie Burgers”
National Geographic magazine • February 2018
Watching Jiang Wannian and Ping Cuixiang harvest a sixth of an acre of daikon seed in the north-central province of Gansu feels a little like traveling back in time.
In a dry valley ringed by dusky mountains, on a brick-paved lot, Jiang drives a rusted tractor over a hip-deep mound of dried plants. As they crush down, Ping, Jiang’s wife, plunges a homemade pitchfork into the straw and arranges it for another pass. Eventually Jiang and Ping work side by side, wiry figures with tawny skin. It’s hot, but they are swaddled in clothes to protect themselves from the dust and the sun. They have handsome faces, taut and lined from years of laboring outdoors, and they turn them skyward as they throw fine chaff up and watch ruddy seed rain down. This rhythm continues for hours. In a singsong voice Ping encourages the wind, murmuring, “Blow, blow!” Machines can do this work in minutes, but they are too expensive for Jiang and Ping. Instead they still thresh the daikon by hand, just as farmers did centuries ago. Continue reading “How China Plans to Feed 1.4 Billion Growing Appetites”
New York Times
October 30, 2017
By Tracie McMillan
In 2010, I took a job at a New York City Applebee’s. I said I was considering culinary school and wanted to get some experience in a real kitchen, but I was actually there to write about the experience for a book. I had grand plans to take a genre steeped in machismo and tell a woman’s story instead.
I got what I was after, though not in the way I had hoped. My kitchen stint included sexual harassment so common that it became background noise, and a sexual assault, which did not. Continue reading “When the Kitchen Isn’t Safe for Women”
New York Times Sunday Review • July 9, 2017
Several years ago, during a harsh Detroit winter, I swallowed my pride and applied for food stamps. I wasn’t sure I’d qualify, but I knew three things. I had little money in the bank, little chance of quickly earning more and I needed to eat. So I tried my luck with the government. Continue reading “Who Do We Think Of as Poor?”
via Twitter • May 2, 2017
- Thrilled to have been in conversation w/ @UCBerkeleyIRP @Shane_Bauer @sukisworld @ailsachang @jamesjonestv at #LoganSymposium2017. But…
- Also wish we dug deeper about complexities re: race/gender w/ @UCBerkeleyIRP. Tagging some thoughts with #LoganSymposium2017.
- Typically, “undercover” = swashbuckling white dude (SWD) doing something dangerous. Is there a role for this kind of work? Sure.
- But SWD-as-default makes it seem like SWD=“authentic” truthteller. Both “white” and “dude” parts are crucial. Continue reading “Semi-Rant RE: Race, Gender and the Problem with “Undercover” Reporting”
New York Times Sunday Review • Dec. 18, 2016
Seven years ago, I joined the night shift at a Walmart in rural Michigan. For $8.10 an hour, I spent four or five nights a week filling shelves with the flour and sugar and marshmallow fluff that residents of the local county, which in 2008 voted for Barack Obama, needed to get through the holidays. Four years ago, the county went with President Obama a second time, though by a thinner margin. But this past November, the county, like the state, turned red.
One in seven American workers is employed in some segment of the food chain, from apple pickers to packing-house workers, truckdrivers to supermarket clerks to fast food counter staff. And many of them increasingly struggle to put food on their own tables, according to a report released Monday from the Food Chain Workers Alliance, an advocacy group founded in 2009, and the Solidarity Research Center. What’s more, the problem is worse among women and people of color.
“The Plate,” National Geographic • Nov. 1, 2016
Researchers angling to solve America’s food waste problem are taking cues from Instagram and developing an app to measure food waste from your food pictures.