5 Modern Families That Left The Grid Behind + How They Did It

Rodale’s Organic Life • July/August 2015

The first time I reconsidered what off-grid meant, I was in Detroit’s North End, trailing the Reverend Joan C. Ross. Red-spectacled and in a second career after selling off her McDonald’s franchises, Reverend Ross was showing me a solar demonstration house, a once-abandoned beauty she had helped bring back to life. There was fine trim in a Victorian parlor, a porch that screamed for a summer afternoon, a toilet that used wastewater to flush, a yard designed to catch runoff and prevent flooding, and a thatch of solar panels on the roof.

“You’re not paying into companies who are burning fossil fuels, or destroying the planet,” she said. “You’re relying on the sun.”

I would have expected this

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How NAFTA Changed American (And Mexican) Food Forever

NPR.org — The Salt • Feb. 13, 2015

If you were to try and list the biggest game-changers for the American food system in the last two decades, you might note the Food Network, or the writing of Michael Pollan, or maybe even the evolution of Walmart.

But you’d probably overlook NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

And that would be a mistake, according to a lengthy report out early February from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Field Studies

OnEarth • July 8, 2014

A few early-summer visits to the local farmer’s market are usually all it takes to turn us into cheerleaders for the American farm. But if you really want to know about the current state of farming in the U.S.A. (as opposed to merely knowing the current state of this summer’s heirloom tomatoes), you’ll need some real, hard facts.

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We’ll Have the Fish, Thanks

On Earth  • May 19, 2014

Back when Gwen Clements worked at the Perdue chicken plant in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, she stood beside a conveyor belt blanketed in chicken parts for eight hours each day. Usually she packed drumsticks, but whichever part of the bird she happened to be packing on a given shift, the smell was as constant as it was noxious: a combination of raw poultry and chlorine, the latter emanating from the pathogen-killing chemical bath that the carcasses—often contaminated with fecal matter—would receive during processing. Every one-and-a-half seconds or so, Clements would grab a piece of meat with her gloved hands

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James Beard Awards: A deep if problematic honor

Here’s what I”m thinking on my way to the James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards tonight, where The American Way of Eating—as well as a feature I wrote on farm labor contracting for The American Prospect—is up for an award::

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Nice nod from the New Yorker

A lovely nod this weekend from the New Yorker’s Daniel Fromson, via his recommended readings: Theft is also a major theme in “As Common As Dirt,” from last September’s American Prospect, a narrative that is worth revisiting in light of its nomination for a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award on Monday. Tracie McMillan, author of … Read more

Some great news: #AWE is up for a James Beard

I’m traveling for my fellowship (Istanbul! Pics to come) but wanted to make sure I let everyone know that The American Way of Eating is up for a James Beard Award–as is a feature I wrote on farm labor, “As Common As Dirt,” in The American Prospect In the event that you do not follow the food world, … Read more

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