Food & Farm

Global demand for food and fuel is rising, and competition for resources has widespread ramifications. We all eat, so we all have a stake in how our food is produced. Our goal is to provide in-depth and unbiased reporting on things like climate change, food safety, biofuel production, animal welfare, water quality and sustainability.

Drew Eggers stood at the edge of one of his stubble fields when he plucked a patch of mint left over from harvest.

“You can smell the spearmint,” he said, offering it up for a sniff.


Every year, the company Ingredion buys millions of tons of corn and cassava from farmers and turns them into starches and sugars that go into foods such as soft drinks, yogurt and frozen meals.

Lots of things can go wrong along the way. Weather can destroy crops. Machinery can break.

Lately, though, Ingredion's top executives have been worried about a new kind of risk: what might happen on a hotter planet.

There's fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression.

Cranberry producers in Massachusetts, and around the country, are slowly drowning in surplus fruit.

For years, harvests in the three major cranberry-producing countries — the United States, Canada and Chile — have swelled, while many consumers have turned away from sugary beverages like cranberry juice. As a result, the global supply of cranberries has outgrown demand, and many Bay State growers have been pushed to the brink of failure.

In a good year, Jesús García Ramos can feed his family all year on the corn that he grows in small fields around his home in the Guatemalan village of Quilinco. But this was not a good year.

On a visit in August, I met García Ramos in the field behind his house, where I found him hacking down dried-out yellow corn stalks with a machete. He had planted the corn in March. But then it didn't rain in June or July, the crucial months when kernels form on the cob. He expected his yields would be about half what he'd expect in a good year, or maybe less.

Farmers had been growing lettuce in the San Luis Valley for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the crop started to take off, thanks to advances in farming and vacuumed sealed shipping containers. At the time, locals referred to lettuce as “green gold,” and thousands of heads were shipped to East Coast cities each day.

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