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”
In this engaging web series, PBS explores hot-button phrases and what they really mean. The Welfare episode includes a discussion from scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality;” along with appearances from Jordan Temple of MTV’s Decoded, and journalist Tracie McMillan.
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”
Mother Jones’ The Bite Podcast • Dec. 1, 2017
Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott writes up our discussion of sexual harassment and #MeToo in America’s restaurant industry for MJ’s food podcast, The Bite, drawing on my recent New York Times opinion piece, “When the Kitchen Isn’t Safe For Women.”
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”
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.
Continue reading “Award-Winning Work”
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?”
It was a huge honor to be included on a panel on undercover reporting last week at the Center for Investigative Reporting’s annual Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting. Post-panel, I had a lot of (strong!) thoughts about race and gender when it comes to that kind of work, which I shared on Twitter — and posted on-site, too.