Seven scholars from a variety of disciplines recommend readings about land, labor, animals, and people in the food system.
Electricity reshaped the poultry industry over the 20th century. Zoe Robertson asks what the costs of this transformation were for birds and inter-species relations.
The logic of plantations shape people's lives. Gender has become a monoculture, but Max López Toledano and Topa Zenga argue that growing gender polycultures can offer a means of flourishing.
After a long and dirty journey, artist Tory Tepp has found community in the creation of the Sauk County ARK earthwork.
Liz Carlisle shares stories from her latest book, which uncovers the history of regenerative agriculture and the farmers of color who practice it.
In the final episode of the Ground Truths podcast series, Clare Sullivan, Carly Gittrich, and Ben Iuliano talk to urban agriculture leaders in Dane County, Wisconsin about how their programs serve Black communities and other communities of color.
Micaela Edelson reveals the often hidden health costs of pesticide exposure to migrant farmworkers in the United States.
In Portage County, Wisconsin, 95 percent of the nitrate in groundwater comes from agriculture, and it's having major health consequences for residents. Ground Truths editors Ben Iuliano and Carly Griffith find out how community members have used scientific and legal advocacy to fight for cleaner drinking water.
Kangatarianism is a growing food movement in Australia that purports to be more ethical and climate-conscious than other meat-eating practices. Sophie Chao uncovers the politics of "eating roo" in an age of climate change.
In the first episode of the Ground Truths podcast series, Carly Griffith speaks with environmental advocates in Wisconsin about how they are addressing local issues of contamination from manufactured chemicals like PFAS and industrial agriculture.
Through fieldwork interviews, Sarah Melotte learns how women in agriculture carve out room for themselves in an industry dominated by men.
Apple growers had a historically low harvest this year. Jules Reynolds asks: what does climate change mean for the future of Wisconsin’s orchards?
Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Neo Xiaoyun, and Yogesh Tulsi discuss their contributions to the anthology Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene: Environmental Perspectives on Life in Singapore.
Anika Rice and Zachary A. Goldberg show how an emerging movement is not only connecting Jewish farmers but also building solidarity for racial justice.
Drawing from postcolonial, Caribbean, Black, and Indigenous Studies, Sophie Sapp Moore and Aida Arosoaie curate a reading list that highlights the complex dynamics of plantation worlds, past and present. Their syllabus is the perfect end to our series on the Plantationocene.
From the scale of a landscape to the scale of a human body, Jamie Lorimer sees a "probiotic turn" underway that uses life to manage life.
Faced with climate change and a global pandemic, small-scale farmers are working together to prosper. Nicolas Loodts follows the supply chain of organic citrus fruits from Sicily to Belgium.
Tea gardens in West Bengal are steeped in legacies of British colonialism. Chandreyi Sengupta, Mrinmoyee Naskar, and Debajit Datta trace the lingering social and environmental impacts of the 19th-century plantation system.
Nuns and farmers work together at Sinsinawa Mound, seeking justice and enchantment in bean patches. Margaux Crider gives us an inside look.
European colonization dramatically altered the Montana landscape. Becca Dower, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, shows how two community agriculture projects are restoring native ecologies and Indigenous food sovereignty.
Genetically modified cotton seeds are not an easy fix for the struggles of agrarian life. Can cooperative economies help?
Six scholars recommend books and essays they're teaching this fall to navigate the pandemics of coronavirus and racial injustice.
What has hoarding during the coronavirus pandemic revealed about the slow violence of plantation histories in suburban back yards? Andrea Knutson traces the logic of scarcity from 17th century Barbados to the local Whole Foods.
Faron Levesque sits down with Dr. Jennifer Gaddis to discuss Gaddis's book, The Labor of Lunch, and how school food can fuel the fight for justice for both workers and students.
Geographer Eden Kinkaid provides a tour of an exhibit at the National Agricultural Science Museum in India and discusses how it shapes narratives of development and modernity beyond the museum walls.
For many Botswanan farmers and their cattle, home is where the water used to be. Justyn Huckleberry describes how international investments in copper mines erase families and their livestock from the land.
Remember murder hornets? Samuel Klee tells their story a different way—with less panic and more attention to settler-colonial plantation ecologies.
Gardening is on the rise as the world quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anna Muenchrath considers the implications and opportunities of the quarantine garden in her review of The Poetics and Politics of Gardening in Hard Times.
A photo essay by Christine Horn from her fieldwork in Sarawak, Borneo, shows how oil palm plantations rearrange and displace communities and landscapes.
Timothy Lorek compares two calendars from Colombia that offer competing visions of plantation presents and agricultural futures.
Current methods of composting came out of colonial plantation agriculture, but have become a key way of practicing polyculture and imagining multispecies communities.
Christian Brooks Keeve traces how fugitive seeds and seed stories are deeply entangled with the stories and legacies of the Black diaspora.
Drawing from her fieldwork with small-scale oil palm growers and plantation workers in Colombia, Angela Serrano describes a smaller way to farm oil palm.
Farmer and educator Kamal Bell discusses the growth of Sankofa Farms and the legacies of racism and dispossession for African American farmers.
Dr. Shona Jackson discusses labor in the Caribbean and the need for radical, collective labor histories that include Creole groups and Indigenous peoples.
Organic farming has far-right roots. While the movement has grown beyond those, its history shows why we must examine our theories of social change.
Land is the scene of a crime and a site of liberation. Tania Murray Li, Rafael Marquese, and Monica White discuss land and the Plantationocene with Elizabeth Hennessy.
The Dole pineapple plantation has a destructive history of transforming the Hawaiian Islands. Mallory Huard describes how that continues today in the tourism industry.
The National Vegetarian Museum celebrates Chicago's vegetarian past with a traveling exhibit about the vegetarian firsts of the Second City and beyond.
Aquaculture is bringing seafood out of the sea. It might be a good idea.
An environmental historian explains why, for Vietnam’s rubber plantations and plantation workers, the specifics of colonialism, geography, and ecology matter.
Artist and writer Sunaura Taylor charts a path toward disability and animal liberation by rethinking care and interdependence, understanding the environmental and physical burdens of our food systems, and more.
Farming has been a part of Black freedom struggles for a long time. It's always been about much more than growing food.
A "plantation-style community" might ease houselessness in Hawaiʻi. But it also erases violent histories of labor exploitation and Native dispossession. Leanne Day and Rebecca Hogue discuss Kahauiki Village and the dangers of plantation nostalgia.
How does energy production affect agricultural livelihoods and the fabric of local communities in southwestern North Dakota? As wind turbines, oil rigs, and “man camps” spread across the region, responses from residents vary from resentment to acceptance.
An anthropologist uses community-based research methods to investigate environmental justice, reproductive health, and food sovereignty in Indigenous communities like the Akwesasne Mohawk in upstate New York.
An audio-visual essay by Deborah A. Thomas responds to the 2010 state of emergency in West Kingston, Jamaica, known as the "Tivoli Incursion" and asks how archiving affects—not just events—might be a way to re-imagine justice, politics, and repair.
A historian planned a small study of cigarette culture. But she ended up uncovering a transnational network of seeds, plants, knowledge, and racist ideologies, and writing a book that transforms how we conceive of corporations and empire.
The USDA’s National Plant Germplasm System is arguably the most important seed bank for our food supply. An agroecologist explains why it is in desperate need of attention.
Astronauts love growing plants in space, and it turns out there are benefits for us on Earth. Botanist Simon Gilroy discusses his experiments growing cotton in zero gravity.
A historian implicates the canning industry in the rise of the industrial food system and our current public health crisis. And yet, she says, maligning canned food is not the answer.
What is the relationship between American agriculture and democracy? In this lively interview, Jess Gilbert and Pete Daniel get to the root of their disagreement over the role of the state and debate what effects the writing of agricultural history has on policy making.
To some, this pig is family. To others, she's food. In a review of Netflix's Okja, a geographer explores how the film's representation of super pigs and human-animal friendships asks us to rethink our relationships with nonhuman animals.
Environmental justice and global health research collide in the Nicaraguan sugarcane fields over the causes of chronic kidney disease (CKDnt).
Three decades after the 1988 Seoul Olympics, what lessons has the South Korean government learned about redevelopment and the Olympic Games?
One historian exposes shadowy corners of cannabis's history and offers prescriptions for achieving a bright, sustainable future for the world's widest-ranging crop.
The decline of honeybees is cause for alarm and a symptom of global biodiversity loss. Beekeepers, however, find creative ways to build relationships with honeybees and steward their hives.
The modernism of the Green Revolution is visible not only in the genes of seeds developed by agronomists, but also in the architecture of the campuses and laboratories where those seeds were engineered.
The fight against African American land loss isn't just about economic justice. It's about environmental sustainability.
Two centuries ago, Ojibwe people planned for seven generations to come. Today that seventh generation is fighting for the treaty rights their ancestors established and a just, sustainable future.
The author of "The Hamlet Fire" discusses a deadly blaze at a chicken-processing facility and the logics of cheapness which provided the kindling.
When Courtney Fullilove looks inside a seed, she sees Mennonite farmers, Comanche agriculture, and Echinacea patents. Her new book, "The Profit of the Earth," shows that the genes of a seed can narrate the history of American empire.
While attending a school set up to train the next generation of haenyeo divers, one woman grapples with the historical and ongoing complexities of maintaining the traditional practice.
Nearly forty years after the Pol Pot time, Cambodia’s landscape testifies to a tumultuous past and hints at an uncertain environmental future.
Fresh perspectives on fertilizer use and victory gardens reveal complex connections between business, the state, and the natural environment.
A writer's poignant reflections on care and healing. What might happen if we all turned toward, instead of away?
When the National Canners Association and the US Bureau of Fisheries write the recipes, Americans learn to serve Jello Salad and Tilefish for dinner.
Two recipes drawn from research reveal how cookbook authors believed natural food had the ability to withstand physical, moral, and social degradation.
Stressing intimacy, structures of power, social justice, and action, food studies is giving interdisciplinarity a good name.
For 40 years California’s Emerald Triangle has provided the one critical environmental factor required to grow cannabis: isolation. That’s about to change.
Activists gather at a summit over factory farm expansion, offering an economic vision based on the value of clean water.
A compost organization in New York City offers up an alternative vision of urban green space and waste labor.
The Center for Culture, History, and Environment’s Place-Based Workshop on the Mississippi River this summer inspires reflections on Mali’s critically important Niger Delta floodplain.
A variety of bees inhabit urban spaces alongside us. In Madison, efforts are underway to improve habitats for the pollinators.
A peek into the past reveals how coconuts went from colonial cash crop to a means of resistance in Southeast Asia during the twentieth century.
A conversation about labor: labor on tea plantations, the labor of language, and the ways in which the Anthropocene invites labor-focused inquiry.
Historian Cindy Ott explains the unique political, economic, and symbolic roles the pumpkin has played in American culture.
A beekeeper struggles to make sense of aggression from her typically docile insect charges.
California's current drought offers an occasion for rethinking how our relationship to the past can help us confront crisis.
In the former colonial hill station of Darjeeling, claims of belonging reveal the paradoxes of living in a place built for someone else.
In an interview about his new book, "Planning Democracy," Jess Gilbert challenges the perceived divide between experts and citizens.
Bart Elmore discusses how Coke came to shape landscapes and bodies the world over, and what that suggests for the future of corporate sustainability.
Recent trends in data visualization suggest powerful new ways of exploring environmental change over time.
Dan Barber's "The Third Plate" resists the ethical pitfalls of farm-to-table dining, instead proposing an ethics of flavor to orient agriculture and its cuisine. What are the implications of a land and sea ethic guided by flavor?
What are the connections between food, place, and belonging? An attempt to make New York-style cheesecake in France suggests some answers.
A visit to Jefferson Davis’s former property in Mississippi shows that, in the battles over how we remember the Civil War, the combatants are not always human.