A truck trailer with bins of apples is parked in an orchard

This Year, Wisconsin Apple Growers Are Feeling the Squeeze

Apple growers had a historically low harvest this year. Jules Reynolds asks: what does climate change mean for the future of Wisconsin’s orchards?
Aerial view on a futuristic garden with greenery and man-made structure in Singapore

The Hidden Histories of Mud Crabs and Oil Monsters in Singapore: A Panel Discussion

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.
A seated woman holding two young goats

How Jewish Farmers are Divesting from White Supremacy

Anika Rice and Zachary A. Goldberg show how an emerging movement is not only connecting Jewish farmers but also building solidarity for racial justice.
Truck on dirt road through green fields

A Syllabus for Plantation Worlds

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.
Bacteria samples under a microscope

Rewilding the Human Biome: A Conversation with Jamie Lorimer

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.
close-up of bitter oranges on a tree

Oranges Tell a Bittersweet Story about Cooperative Farming in Europe

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.
People carrying packs on their backs walk on a paved road through a tea planation.

Tea Gardens and Geographies of Colonial Exploitation

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.
Collage of a black and white image of a nun and horse plowing a field with a wheel of life drawing behind.

Nuns, Farmers, and Enchanted Earth at the Sinsinawa Mound

Nuns and farmers work together at Sinsinawa Mound, seeking justice and enchantment in bean patches. Margaux Crider gives us an inside look.
Landscape with blue sky, bales of wheat, and a single tree

Eating with Relatives in the Fort Peck Reservation

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.
Fingers pull open ball of cotton

Farmers Living and Dying by Cotton Seeds in India

Genetically modified cotton seeds are not an easy fix for the struggles of agrarian life. Can cooperative economies help?
Statue of a man sitting on a bench wearing a mask and reading a newspaper

Faculty Favorites: Reading Through the Pandemic

Six scholars recommend books and essays they're teaching this fall to navigate the pandemics of coronavirus and racial injustice.
Empty grocery store shelves

Scarcity and the Suburban Back Yard

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.
Close-up on gloved hands filling vegetable cups with carrots, tomato, and broccoli.

School Food Politics: A Conversation with Jennifer Gaddis

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.
Large stone building

Exhibiting Agricultural Development in India

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.
Cattle carcass with bone beneath its hide exposed, decaying in a field

When Climate, Cattle, and Copper Collide

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.
Close-up of a hornet on a pin.

Beyond the “Murder Hornet” Panic

Remember murder hornets? Samuel Klee tells their story a different way—with less panic and more attention to settler-colonial plantation ecologies.
The Quarantine Garden

The Quarantine Garden

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.
An oil palm plantation in Malaysia

Picturing the Plantation as a Site of Displacement

A photo essay by Christine Horn from her fieldwork in Sarawak, Borneo, shows how oil palm plantations rearrange and displace communities and landscapes.
Keeping Time with Colombian Plantation Calendars

Keeping Time with Colombian Plantation Calendars

Timothy Lorek compares two calendars from Colombia that offer competing visions of plantation presents and agricultural futures.
Laborers walk on a steaming pile of compost

Composting’s Colonial Roots and Microbial Offshoots

Current methods of composting came out of colonial plantation agriculture, but have become a key way of practicing polyculture and imagining multispecies communities.
Scattering of mustard seeds. Black and white photograph

Fugitive Seeds

Christian Brooks Keeve traces how fugitive seeds and seed stories are deeply entangled with the stories and legacies of the Black diaspora.
A laborer reaches up into a palm tree

Can Small-Scale Farming Save Oil Palm?

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.
A photograph of Kamal Bell at Sankofa Farms

Sankofa Farms Is an Education: Five Questions for Kamal Bell

Farmer and educator Kamal Bell discusses the growth of Sankofa Farms and the legacies of racism and dispossession for African American farmers.
Boats filled with sugarcane on a muddy river with smokestacks visible in the background

Decolonizing Labor in the Caribbean: A Conversation with Shona Jackson

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's Political History

Organic Farming’s Political History

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.
What Is Land? A Conversation with Tania Murray Li, Rafael Marquese, and Monica White

What Is Land? A Conversation with Tania Murray Li, Rafael Marquese, and Monica White

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.
Drawing of people kneeling in pineapple plantation

In Hawaiʻi, Plantation Tourism Tastes Like Pineapple

The Dole pineapple plantation has a destructive history of transforming the Hawaiian Islands. Mallory Huard describes how that continues today in the tourism industry.
A souvenir postcard depicting Chicago in the early 20th century with streetcars, horses, pedestrians, and street signs

Chicago’s Deep History of Vegetarianism: A Conversation with Connie Johnston and Kay Stepkin

The National Vegetarian Museum celebrates Chicago's vegetarian past with a traveling exhibit about the vegetarian firsts of the Second City and beyond.
Row of aquaculture fish tanks

Can Aquaculture Make Seafood Sustainable?

Aquaculture is bringing seafood out of the sea. It might be a good idea.
A blue bucket attached to a rubber tree

How Rubber Plantations Reshaped Vietnam: A Conversation with Michitake Aso

An environmental historian explains why, for Vietnam’s rubber plantations and plantation workers, the specifics of colonialism, geography, and ecology matter.
A black dog gently pulls off a gray sock from a child's foot.

Where Disability Rights and Animal Rights Meet: A Conversation with Sunaura Taylor

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.
Food Is Just the Beginning: A Conversation with Monica White

Food Is Just the Beginning: A Conversation with Monica White

Farming has been a part of Black freedom struggles for a long time. It's always been about much more than growing food.
A street lined with tents and palm trees

Plantation Housing Isn’t the Answer to Homelessness in Hawaiʻi

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.
An rust, abandoned plow sits in the foreground with a hayfield full of wind turbines against a bright sky.

Farm Life on an Energy Frontier

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.
Headshot of Dr. Hoover and book cover

Pollution Doesn’t Care About Borders: A Conversation with Elizabeth Hoover

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.
Ceramic and glass mosaics of two faces on a blue concrete wall

A Search for Repair in the Wake of the Plantation

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 woman and man tie leaves of tobacco together with a return address for the British-American Tobacco Company in Shanghai and Chinese characters superimposed over them.

Tobacco’s World of Racial Capitalism: A Conversation with Nan Enstad

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.
Scarlet runner beans in many colors - dark brown, light brown, red, dark pink, yellow, speckled white and brown - appear against a white background with a ruler and label visible on either side

Banking on Seeds for Our Future

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.
Gardening in Outer Space: A Conversation with Simon Gilroy

Gardening in Outer Space: A Conversation with Simon Gilroy

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.
Two visitors to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in front of Andy Warhol's "Campbell Soup Cans" (1962)

What Canned Food Stands For: A Conversation with Anna Zeide

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.
A black farmer plows a field in Alabama with a horse.

In Search of a Democratic Agrarian Tradition: A Conversation with Pete Daniel and Jess Gilbert

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.
A Pig Born a Commodity, Raised as a Friend in Neflix’s Okja

A Pig Born a Commodity, Raised as a Friend in Neflix’s Okja

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.
Sugarcane workers in a field in Nicaragua

Is There a Place for Environmental Justice in Global Health?

Environmental justice and global health research collide in the Nicaraguan sugarcane fields over the causes of chronic kidney disease (CKDnt).
Olympic Do-Over: How Olympic Redevelopment Erased South Korea's Past, Twice

Olympic Do-Over: How Olympic Redevelopment Erased South Korea’s Past, Twice

Three decades after the 1988 Seoul Olympics, what lessons has the South Korean government learned about redevelopment and the Olympic Games?
A hand in silhouette holds up a cannabis leaf up against a bright, overcast sky.

A Century of Cannabis: A Conversation with Nick Johnson

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.
A sterling silver sculpture of a honeybee

Finding Hope and Community with Honeybees: A Conversation with Heather Swan

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.
Designing Seeds and Laboratories for the Green Revolution

Designing Seeds and Laboratories for the Green Revolution

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.
Savi Horne poses, smiling at the camera, in front of a large tilled field against a bright white sky.

Food Justice Requires Land Justice: A Conversation with Savi Horne

The fight against African American land loss isn't just about economic justice. It's about environmental sustainability.
Winona LaDuke stands in a field behind three tall stalks of hemp that reach two feet above her head against a cloudy sky,

We Are the Seventh Generation: A Conversation with Winona LaDuke

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.
Chicken nuggets against a blue square background imposed in the upper-left corner of an image of a charred industrial kichen after a fire, run through with horizontal red stripes, suggests an image of the U.S. flag.

How’d We Get So Cheap? A Conversation with Bryant Simon

The author of "The Hamlet Fire" discusses a deadly blaze at a chicken-processing facility and the logics of cheapness which provided the kindling.
Seeds as Time Capsules

Seeds as Time Capsules

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.
A haenyeo, floating in the water, holds up her catch. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Bittersweet Catch: Korea’s Diving Women and the Pitfalls of Cultural Preservation

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.
Remembering Lost Landscapes in Cambodia

Remembering Lost Landscapes in Cambodia

Nearly forty years after the Pol Pot time, Cambodia’s landscape testifies to a tumultuous past and hints at an uncertain environmental future.
Rethinking American Agriculture: Fertilized Farms and Victory Gardens

Rethinking American Agriculture: Fertilized Farms and Victory Gardens

Fresh perspectives on fertilizer use and victory gardens reveal complex connections between business, the state, and the natural environment.
Turning Toward

Turning Toward

A writer's poignant reflections on care and healing. What might happen if we all turned toward, instead of away?
Tilefish and Jello Salad for Family and Nation

Tilefish and Jello Salad for Family and Nation

When the National Canners Association and the US Bureau of Fisheries write the recipes, Americans learn to serve Jello Salad and Tilefish for dinner.
Mushrooms in shredded wheat biscuit baskets

Natural Food to Eat When Changing the World

Two recipes drawn from research reveal how cookbook authors believed natural food had the ability to withstand physical, moral, and social degradation.
"What is food studies?" An N. C. Wyeth 1948 illustration advertising the General Electric Space Maker Refrigerator. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

What is Food Studies?

Stressing intimacy, structures of power, social justice, and action, food studies is giving interdisciplinarity a good name.
A dried bud of cannabis. Image from Creative Commons.

The Cannabis Frontier

For 40 years California’s Emerald Triangle has provided the one critical environmental factor required to grow cannabis: isolation. That’s about to change.
How Activists Are Taking on Factory Farms

How Activists Are Taking on Factory Farms

Activists gather at a summit over factory farm expansion, offering an economic vision based on the value of clean water.
Wasting Space: Composting for Change in New York

Wasting Space: Composting for Change in New York

A compost organization in New York City offers up an alternative vision of urban green space and waste labor.
Rhythms of Time Along the Water

Rhythms of Time Along the Water

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.
The Urban Buzz: Pollinator Protection in Madison, Wisconsin

The Urban Buzz: Pollinator Protection in Madison, Wisconsin

A variety of bees inhabit urban spaces alongside us. In Madison, efforts are underway to improve habitats for the pollinators.
Coconuts at harvest time.

Coconuts: Catalysts of Conflict

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.
Working Concepts: A Conversation with Sarah Besky

Working Concepts: A Conversation with Sarah Besky

A conversation about labor: labor on tea plantations, the labor of language, and the ways in which the Anthropocene invites labor-focused inquiry.
Champion the turkey

Stories of Champions

A poem for Champion the turkey, who escaped the Thanksgiving table.
A group of small pumpkins atop hay

From Jack-O’-Lantern to Pumpkin Pie: The Surprising History of a Favorite Fall Icon

Historian Cindy Ott explains the unique political, economic, and symbolic roles the pumpkin has played in American culture.
Being With Bees

Being With Bees

A beekeeper struggles to make sense of aggression from her typically docile insect charges.
A dry Folsom Lake, California, 2014. Photo by flickr user Robert Cause-Baker (CC-BY-2.0).

Tapping the Past for California’s Water Future

California's current drought offers an occasion for rethinking how our relationship to the past can help us confront crisis.
Inheriting the Hill Station

Inheriting the Hill Station

In the former colonial hill station of Darjeeling, claims of belonging reveal the paradoxes of living in a place built for someone else.
Planning with the People: Jess Gilbert on the "Intended" New Deal

Planning with the People: Jess Gilbert on the “Intended” New Deal

In an interview about his new book, "Planning Democracy," Jess Gilbert challenges the perceived divide between experts and citizens.
Bart Elmore, Citizen Coke

Coke and Capitalism: A Conversation with Bart Elmore

Bart Elmore discusses how Coke came to shape landscapes and bodies the world over, and what that suggests for the future of corporate sustainability.
An enumerator visits a farmer for the 1940 Census.

Look to the Land: Visualizing Change in Agriculture

Recent trends in data visualization suggest powerful new ways of exploring environmental change over time.
barber, third plate

Review: “The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food”

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?
Food and familiarity

Taste of Homes: Food and Familiarity

What are the connections between food, place, and belonging? An attempt to make New York-style cheesecake in France suggests some answers.
Davis Island: A Confederate Shrine, Submerged

Davis Island: A Confederate Shrine, Submerged

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.